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Europe stocks slip as hot Spanish inflation data fans rate hike concerns

EUROPE-STOCKS:Tech stocks lead losses in Europe on rate decision jitters
EUROPE-STOCKS:Tech stocks lead losses in Europe on rate decision jitters Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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By Ankika Biswas and Amruta Khandekar

- European shares slipped on Monday as hotter-than-expected inflation data from Spain added to market jitters as investors brace for a slew of interest rate hikes from prominent central banks later in the week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed down 0.2%.

Money market bets show that the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to raise its policy rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 4.50%-4.75% on Wednesday, while the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE) are seen raising rates by 50 bps each to 2.50% and 4.0%, respectively, on Thursday.

Eurozone bond yields climbed after preliminary data showed Spain's consumer prices rose by a greater-than-expected 5.8% year-on-year in January.

"What surprised some people was that in Spain, we had the first acceleration with the annual pace in six months and that is likely to keep the pressure elevated for the ECB to remain aggressive with their rate hikes," said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

"It's clearly a wait-and-see mode. Hotter inflation is something that will continue to spook markets."

Europe's technology index was the top decliner among STOXX 600 sectors, down 1.7%, with chip stocks ASM International N.V. and Nordic Semiconductor among those posting the biggest losses.

Keeping London's FTSE 100 afloat and limiting declines on the STOXX 600, UK-based consumer goods giant Unilever rose 1.3% after announcing a new chief executive officer.

Boosting the broader healthcare sector, Philips jumped 7%, after the Dutch health technology company said it will scrap another 6,000 jobs.

Germany's DAX index was down 0.2%.

The German economy unexpectedly fell in the fourth quarter, a sign that Europe's largest economy may be entering a much-predicted recession as an effect of the Ukraine war.

Crucial euro zone inflation data due a day before the ECB's meeting will only include an estimate for Germany after the bloc's biggest country delayed the release of its own figures, Eurostat said on Monday.

Optimism around better-than-feared corporate earnings and economic resiliency have set the STOXX 600 index on track for a monthly gain of nearly 7%, after losing nearly 13% in 2022.

Earnings for STOXX 600 companies have likely jumped around 10% in the fourth quarter, down from 14.5% seen at the start of January, Refinitiv data showed.

Among other stocks, PNE AG dropped 16.1%, after the German renewables firm said Morgan Stanley is no longer pursuing a stake sale.

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