Europe stocks lower with earnings season off to volatile start 

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European stock markets are slightly lower on Friday after investors reacted sharply to corporate earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was flat at the open before declining 0.22%, with major bourses narrowly in the red. Sectors were mostly lower, with mining stocks down 2.7% and healthcare stocks up 0.8%.

Autos stocks fell 3.7% on Thursday as Tesla’s fall in net income and announcement of further price cuts spooked the market.

German software firm SAP on Friday reported higher revenue and operating profit, ahead of a consensus forecast from the company. It also revised annual profit guidance downward due to a divestment.

Holcim, the Swiss maker of building materials, also posted a rise in revenue and profit.

U.K. retail data showed a 0.9% fall in sales volumes for March, below forecasts of a 0.5% decline, which retailers blamed in part on the unusually wet weather. Consumer confidence ticked higher, a widely watched GfK survey showed, though the authors noted “continuing concerns among consumers about their personal financial situation.”

U.K. inflation figures earlier in the week came in hotter than expected, with headline inflation at 10.1% and food and non-alcoholic beverages up 19.2% on the previous year.

France, Germany and euro zone purchasing managers’ index numbers are due later in the day.

Investors also have an eye on May’s monetary policy meetings, where the Federal Reserve and Bank of England are widely expected to enact one more interest rate hike before pausing. Comments from European Central Bank policymakers suggest they may continue beyond that, with its president, Christine Lagarde, saying Thursday the ECB “still has a bit of way to go” to bring back inflation toward its 2% target.

In Asia-Pacific, stock markets are broadly lower, while U.S. stock futures are flat.

Germany’s DAX was down 0.4%, France’s CAC 40 down 0.2% and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 down 0.07%.

Source: Europe stocks lower with earnings season off to volatile start

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