Europe Markets: European stocks head for another week of losses; EDF plunges on French power price cap


European stocks fell Friday, with the technology sector bearing the brunt of losses as Wall Street stocks slipped for another day amid worries over inflation and a rough start to the earnings reporting season. EDF EDF, -15.07% shares slid 20% after pulling guidance.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.95% dropped 0.7% to 482.36, following a modest decline on Thursday that snapped a two-session winning streak. The German DAX DAX, -0.83% fell 0.6% and the French CAC 40 PX1, -0.70% slid 0.5%, while losses were more modest for the FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.22%, which eased 0.1%.

The U.S. dollar bounced after weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales data, with the euro EURUSD, -0.20% and British pound GBPUSD, -0.15% lower by 0.1% each. U.S. retail sales fell a bigger-than-expected 1.9%, but the Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.56% was up 0.1% after a 2.5% slump Thursday. The week has been dominated by worries about inflation with Federal Reserve officials expressing a commitment to tackle it.

Results from big banks, to kick off fourth-quarter earnings season left investors flat with Citigroup C, -2.34%, JPMorgan JPM, -5.39% and Wells Fargo WFC, +4.29% all down on those results.

Data in Europe showed the German economy expand 2.7% in 2021, rebounding from a 4.6% drop in 2020, but still 2% below growth in 2019. In China, data showed the country’s trade surplus hitting a record high in 2021, rising 29.9% to a fresh high of $3.36 trillion, while imports surged 30.1%, lifted in part by soaring commodity prices. 

Among Europe’s big tech names, shares of ASM International ASM, -3.67% dropped nearly 3%, along with ASML Holding ASML, -0.07% ASML, -3.29%, while Infineon Technologies IFX, -2.12% slipped 0.6%. German business software group SAP SAP, +1.13% SAP, -0.07% bucked the weaker trend, with a gain of 1.7%.

EDF EDF, -15.07% was the worst performer on the Stoxx Europe 600, as the French state-controlled utility late on Thursday pulled its guidance for the year, saying the government’s new moves to curb higher electricity bills will have an estimated impact of up to 8.4 billion euros ($9.62 billion). Shares slid 14%.

Auto makers were among the gainers, with Volkswagen VOW, +0.36%, Renault RNO, -0.43% and Daimler Truck Holdings DTG, +2.74% all rising by more than 2%.

Shares of health technology company Philips PHG, +0.87% PHIA, +2.60% were also near the top of the gainers list, with a rise of more than 3%.

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