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Europe midday: Israel attack on Iran rattles investors; Royal Unibrew soars

Fri 19 April 2024 11:56 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - European stocks were lower at midday on Friday after Israel launched an attack on Iran in the latest escalation of hostilities between the two since Tel Aviv attacked the Iranian consulate in Syria.

The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index was down 0.44% to 497.52 in early deals. The index has fallen 1.53% over the past five days and a far cry from the record highs above 515 recently posted.

Investors took flight after Israel, despite calls for restraint from the US and other Western nations, decided to carry out airstrikes against Iranian cities of Isfahan and Tabriz. As a result, oil prices rebounded by 3%, while the traditional safe haven of gold also spiked.

In economic news, German producer prices fell 2.9% in March on an annualised basis, driven by lower energy prices.

UK retail sales were flat in March, undershooting expectations, according to figures released on Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

Retail sales were unchanged on the month following a revised 0.1% jump in February and versus expectations for a 0.3% increase.

On the equities front, Royal Unibrew was the standout gainer as shares in the Danish brewer surged 15% after it posted Q1 results above expectations on Thursday and raised its full year outlook.

Shares in L'Oreal gained after the cosmetics giant reported a 9.4% rise in first quarter sales on a like-for-like basis.

French food caterer Sodexo was also higher after the company said it expects 2024 organic revenue growth at the top of its 6% to 8% range, boosted by the Paris Olympics and higher pricing.

On the downside, UK investment firm Man Group fell as net outflows of $1.6bn in the first quarter disappointed investors.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com

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