European stocks slipped Friday after mixed corporate earnings and economic data weighed on benchmarks across the continent.
Poor corporate earnings reports were a weight around the ankles of markets from early on, while mixed economic data in Europe and the U.S. did the rest of the work in late morning and early noon trading.
In London, a slowdown in GDP growth in the first quarter, to 0.30%, led to renewed speculation that the economy is feeling the heat from last year's vote to leave the EU, which weighed on domestic stocks in the U.K.
Meanwhile, eurozone inflation picked up much faster than was expected during April, with the headline consumer price index now at 1.9% and core inflation at 1.2%, which led to renewed questions over the survivability of the ECB's stimulus program. The euro rose in response to the announcement and stocks fell.
The FTSE 100 fell by 0.49% to close at 7,203 in London, while the mid-market FTSE 250 index closed down 0.11%, at 19,615.
In Frankfurt, the DAX slipped 0.05%, to 12,438, while the CAC 40 dropped 0.08% in Paris to close at 5,267.
Benchmarks in Southern Europe, on the other hand, recovered some of Thursday's losses with both the FTSE MIB in Milan and the IBEX in Madrid seeing gains of between 0.25% and 0.50%.
In individual stocks, the biggest weight on London's FTSE 100 was Barclays (BCS) after it missed estimates for earnings in the first-quarter, thanks to one-off restructuring charges and after growth in its bond trading income failed to meet the bar set by analysts. The stock was down around 5% by the close.
Royal Mail (ROYMF) stock fell after it appeared to partially row back on a pledge to close a problematic pension scheme, following discussions with workers representatives, sending the shares down more than 4%.
On a more positive note, the bailed-out British lender, RBS (RBS) , swung back into profit in the first quarter for the first time since 2015, sending the shares nearly 5% higher Friday.
In Paris, Orange (ORAN) and Vivendi (VIVHY) were among the top fallers on the CAC, with the former having failed to inspire with its latest quarterly report and the latter seeing investors flee in the wake of an adverse update from one of its key competitors, WPP (WPPGY) . WPP shares were also among the top fallers in London Friday.
On the upside, Renault (RNSDF) led the European automotive sector higher and topped the CAC 40 index after delivering solid first-quarter sales figures that were ahead of analyst expectations, after the market closed Thursday. The shares were up more than 4%.
RWE shareholders approved a number of board changes on Thursday and agreed to waive the annual dividend in light of ongoing restructuring challenges faced by the group. However, both stocks are also highly sensitive to interest rate expectations.
On a more positive note, Deutsche Post (DPSGY) said it will soon begin to deliver groceries for Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) Fresh in Germany, which helped to send the shares up by nearly 2%, close to the top of the DAX index.