European equity markets ended the week fairly unchanged, as investors remained cautious due to the absence of major US macroeconomic indicators today and the European elections over the weekend.
On the macroeconomic front, the German economy grew by 0.8% in Q1 2014, in line with analysts’ expectations, while in the US new home sales increased by 6.4% in April to reach 433,000. Thus, the US dollar continued its recent uptrend with the USD index holding above 80.3, while the euro remained under pressure trading at 1.36.
In London, retail companies and supermarkets added pressure to the equity market. Associated British Food and Burberry declined by 1.7%, while Diageo retreated sharply by 1.3% and SABMiller fell by 1.4%.
On the upside, base metals prices extended gains with LME Aluminium climbing more than 1% above 1815 and copper gaining more than 0.7% to retest the 6930 area. The strong gains in metals prices helped morning stocks to finish higher. Ango American and Antofagasta rose by 2.3% and 1.65%, respectively.
The US equity markets are closed on Monday for Memorial Day and UK market is also closed for the May Bank holiday, so trading volumes were fairly thin in today’s session.