European Stocks End Lower on Greek Fears, Soft Data

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European Stocks End Lower on Greek Fears, Soft Data

European equities ended lower, setting them on course for a loss this week, weighed down by mounting concerns over the financial volatility and Greece and soft economic data from the Euro zone.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index fell by 6.986 points or 1.7% at 399.87 points with all its key sectors finishing either level or lower. The index still recorded a 1% growth for May despite falling 1.9% for the week.

Market analysts saw the monthly growth as grounds for optimism that the market weakness is only temporary.

“We are overweight euro zone equities. What we like is that the economic cycle is kicking in,” Mads Pedersen, head of global asset allocation at UBS Wealth Management in Zurich, told Reuters.

“We have had lots of stimulus, and we think in the next 6-12 months earnings growth will kick in stronger.”

On the major country indexes, the UK benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies slid 0.8% to close at 6984.93.

The German DAX 30 closed 2.3% lower at 11,413.22 points. The German benchmark index fell more than 3.4% for the week.

Concerns over Greece rattled the markets this week with there having been no reported progress between the country and its creditors over a possible bailout.

The mounting concerns overshadowed the last day of the Group of seven meeting in Friday with Greece fate in the Euro a major talking point.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, fuelled the jitters after telling a German newspaper that the IMF wouldn’t rule out pushing Greece out of the currency.

“There are no serious signs of improvement or an imminent deal, and that is what is really keeping investors on their toes,” Philip Lawlor, a partner at London-based Smith & Williamson Investment, told the Wall Street Journal.

“No one wants to take any unnecessary risks ahead of the weekend.”

To contact the reporter of the story: Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com