The global markets are mixed again on Thursday, as a raft of economic data influences investor sentiment.
Heading into the European afternoon, the FTSE 100 is down 13.53 points (0.20%) at 6,610.01. The decline comes as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reports a lower than expected house price balance of 45%, versus a forecast of 52%. Also weighing down the index are the large UK food retailers. Wm Morrison (MRW.L), J Sainsbury (SBRY.L) and Tesco (TSCO.L) are down 9.8%, 7.3% and 4.5% respectively, with the former initiating the fall on a downwards revision of its earnings estimate.
The DAX is up slightly, currently trading 9,215.28, a 26.32-point (0.29%) gain on the open. Airliner Deutsche Lufthansa (LHA.DE) is propping up the advance, up 6.45% at 19.08 on a positive 2014 guidance and the promise of a dividend despite a 75% fall in net profit during 2013.
Traders and investors will look to European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi for hints as to the future of European monetary policy on Thursday afternoon, with a speech scheduled for 17:00 GMT.**relatedarticle**
In the U.S., S&P 500 futures are up 0.31% mid-U.S. morning on Thursday, currently trading at 1,873.65. Similarly, NQ 100 futures are up 0.40%, trading at 3,721.40. The rise comes as a host of better than expected data was released with the market open. Core retail sales (MoM) grew faster than forecast, with a rise of 0.3% compared to a forecast 0.2% and a previous figure of -0.3%. Import price index (MoM) followed suit, with prices rising 0.9% compared to an expected, and previous, 0.4%.
In Asia, fears of a Chinese economy slowdown have compounded on yet more disappointing data, with the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (CNBS) reporting fixed asset investment (YoY) at 17.9%, much lower than the forecast 19.4%. Chinese retail sales also fell well short of expectations, with the CNBS reporting growth of 11.8% versus a forecast of 13.5%.
Whether this fear will have an impact in the global markets remains to be seen, but a risk-off sentiment, and in turn a market contraction, is likely heading into the weekend.
To contact the reporter of this story: Samuel Rae at firstname.lastname@example.org