European stocks fell for a third straight session on Friday and were on course to end the week lower, as the battle for the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, raged on and investors evaluated the economic risks from Federal Reserve monetary-policy tightening. Weak economic data from the region also stoked worries about peaking growth.
The pan European Stoxx 600 dipped 0.2 percent to 452.34 after declining 0.2 percent in the previous session.
The German DAX was marginally lower, while France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 both slipped around 0.2 percent.
Telecom Italia rallied 2.7 percent after U.S. investment firm KKR & Co. said it remains interested in taking over the telecoms company.
Freenet AG declined 1.3 percent. The German telecommunications and web content provider said its management has confirmed the preliminary results for the financial year 2021.
AstraZeneca was up around 1 percent after the EU’s drug watchdog recommended for approval its Covid-19 prevention cocktail.
Smiths Group shares fell nearly 2 percent. The British engineering company reported that its first half underlying operating profit from continuing operations increased 11.1 percent.
Go-Ahead Group, a public transport company, surged 6.2 percent. The company announced that its subsidiary Govia Thameslink Railway has won a national rail contract by the Department for Transport to continue to run the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail services, with effect from April 1.
In economic releases, business confidence in Germany collapsed in March to hit a fourteen-month low, a survey showed.
The Ifo business-climate index declined to 90.8 points from 98.5 points in February due to higher energy costs and uncertainty stemming from the Ukraine conflict. This is the lowest reading since January 2021.
U.K. retail sales volume dropped 0.3 percent month-on-month, in contrast to the 1.9 percent increase in January, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed. Sales were forecast to climb 0.6 percent.
On a yearly basis, retail sales grew 7.0 percent but slower than the revised 9.4 percent increase logged in January and the expected 7.8 percent rise.
Separately, survey results from the market research group GfK revealed that U.K. consumer confidence weakened for the fourth straight month in March as the cost of living crisis deepened.
The consumer confidence index fell to -31 in March from -26 in February. All five components of the index decreased from February.
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