European shares slipped on Friday on concerns over rising inflation and surging coronavirus infections, while investors were uncertain over how weak US payrolls data would influence the Federal Reserve’s plans for tightening policy.
Data showed eurozone inflation rose to a record high last month, likely pointing towards more pressure on the European Central Bank to raise interest rates this year.
The worrying data sparked a warning from Nexit campaigners over the eurozone stability.
Nexit Denktank analysts said: “With high inflation, government debt can ‘melt’.
“Southern European countries such as Greece (210 percent) and Italy (156 percent) have high debts and inflation is in their interest and of the euro.
“The Netherlands has low debts, but cannot change course because of the euro.
“If Italy goes bankrupt, it means the end of the euro.
“Their national debt is too great to save as Greece has.
“This was stated by Jeroen Dijsselbloem (former Eurogroup president) and also confirmed by professors of EU law.
Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance said: “Inflation is the main concern for the Fed, and they are going to go ahead with rate hikes and potentially balance sheet run-off in order to remove monetary accommodation.
“The report today is unlikely to do anything to change the Fed’s mind.”
The prospect of higher interest rates boosted European bank stocks, making them the best performers this week with a 6.7 percent jump.
Gains in some chipmakers helped limit some losses in the technology sector. Italy’s STMicroelectronics, rose more than 3 percent after posting quarterly revenue above its own estimates.
German chipmaker Infineon Technologies gained 1.7 percent, taking cues from South Korea’s Samsung Electronics that posted upbeat fourth-quarter results.
Deutsche Bank climbed 1.8 percent to a more than six-month high. The German lender’s finance chief told Handelsblatt in an interview that the firm is confident it will reach a key profitability target this year.
Dutch insurer Aegon rose more than 4 percent to the top of the STOXX 600, after it announced a 50 million euro share buyback.
Meanwhile, Airbus dropped 0.8 percent after reports that Qatar Airways is seeking more than $600 million in compensation from the planemaker over surface flaws on A350 jetliners.
Airbus has said that while it acknowledges technical problems, there is no safety issue.
Polish parcel locker firm InPost plummeted 14.0 percent to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after posting weaker-than-expected quarterly parcel volume growth in the country.