European Shares Set For Sluggish Start As Recession Worries Mount

European stocks are likely to open lower on Monday, as Chinese economic data disappointed and the mere declaration of intent by Finland and Sweden to join NATO sent tensions in Europe soaring, with Russia threatening ‘military-technical’ retaliation.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 situation in North Korea remains serious and questionable, given the nation’s secrecy policy and its frail healthcare system.

Asian markets traded mixed, giving up early gains as shockingly weak data out of China revived fears of a global recession.

China’s retail sales sank 11.1 percent in April year-on-year and industrial output also fell a steep 2.9 percent, raising concerns about a deepening slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

The dire data overshadowed news that Shanghai authorities were aiming to reopen and allow normal life to resume from Jun 1.

China’s central bank cut mortgage loan interest rates for some home buyers, but there was some disappointment over the central bank keeping the interest rate unchanged for a fourth straight month.

Gold was pressured by higher yields and a firmer dollar, while oil prices fell around 2 percent in Asian trade, after having risen about 4 percent on Friday.

U.S. equity futures were trading lower ahead of a big earnings week for retailers, with Walmart, Target and Home Depot all set to report results for the first quarter.

Investors also await a slew of U.S. data on retail sales, industrial production, housing starts and existing home sales this week for fresh clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy tightening trajectory.

U.S. stocks posted strong gains on Friday after a week of steep losses on concerns about elevated inflationary pressures and aggressive monetary policy tightening.

The S&P 500 surged 2.4 percent, marking its best day since May 4 and preventing it from tumbling into bear market territory.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged as much as 3.8 percent to post its strongest single-day gain since November 2020 while the Dow added 1.5 percent.

European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on Friday as investors looked for bargains.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 2.1 percent. The German DAX rallied 2.1 percent, France’s CAC 40 index gained 2.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 2.6 percent.

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