European Stocks Slip ahead of Data Deluge, UK Shares Lag

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European stocks slipped from alltime highs on Thursday, as investors awaited U.S. economic data to gauge the future path of monetary policy, while rating actions and exdividend trading knocked UK shares lower.

The panEuropean STOXX 600 index was down 0.2, with miners and utilities leading the decliners.

A host of British companies, including National Grid and Kingfisher, traded without entitlement for dividend, pulling UKs FTSE 100 0.7 lower.

Global stocks took a step back ahead of the closely watched U.S. jobs data on Friday, which could give fresh clues on the pace of recovery and inflationary pressures building in the economy that could lead the Federal Reserve to pare back its support.

Edward Park, chief investment officer at asset manager Brooks Macdonald, said while a strong data could spur worries about rate hikes, a weak number could highlight labour shortages and supplychain issues that have been at the forefront of investors minds.

The markets will require a Goldilocks U.S. jobs report to hold on to the alltime highs, said Park.

After a record expansion in euro zone factory activity, IHS Markits final reading showed the blocs dominant service sector sprang back into life last month as restrictions eased.

An index covering the service industry soared to a near threeyear high of 55.2 from 50.5, just beating the 55.1 flash estimate.

Solid earnings, massive stimulus programmes and a pickup in the pace of COVID19 vaccination have helped pushed the STOXX 600…

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