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Europe midday: Investors try to discern outlook after historic GDP drop

Fri 31 July 2020 11:53 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Investors were fading an early bounce in European stocks at month's end even as they digested data showing a record contraction in euro area economic growth during the second quarter.

But for most analysts the latest economic data was already stale and what mattered now was discerning what lay ahead for growth in the backhalf of 2020.

On one side of that debate, which appeared to be gaining traction, following Friday's Eurozone GDP data, Rabobank analysts mused out loud: "even if there is a working vaccine, this does not mean that we can go back to a preCOVID economy.

"As long as the vaccine is not a silver bullet and there is still risk of infection, the economy would have to be permanently adjusted to protect the vulnerable. Additionally, the vulnerable (and risk averse) will protect themselves and consumer behaviour will change accordingly."

As of 1204 BST, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was ahead 0.48% to 361.21, alongside a 0.59% rise on the Dax to 12,452.53 while the FTSE Mibtel was bouncing back 1.16% to 19,450.69.

By sectors, Technology issues were still at the head of the pack, with the Stoxx 600 sector gauge ahead by 1.92%, boosted by earnings released by US peers Amazon and Facebook overnight.

Nokia and Nemetschek AG were among the top gainers on the Stoxx 600, alongside stock in Italian lender UBI SpA.

Euro/dollar meanwhile had reversed course and was at. 1.1833, having breached 1.19 during Asian trading hours.

S&P 500 futures had pared their advance to trade 5.75 points higher to 3,254.5.

The favourable wind for stocks wasn't limited to the US, also overnight the 'official' Chinese manufacturing sector Purchasing Managers' Index for July printed ahead of forecasts.

In quarterly annualised terms, France's gross domestic product shrank by an outsized 12.8% over the three months to June (consensus: -15.0%).

That was alongside a 12.4% drop in Italy (consensus: -15.3%) and an 18.5% decline in Spain (-16%).

All told, Eurostat reported a 12.1% quarter-on-quarter drop in Eurozone GDP for the second quarter (consensus: -12%).

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