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Europe close: Stocks end lower after US jobs data



European shares were lower on Friday following the release of a stronger-than-expected readings on the US jobs market.

Nevertheless, just the day before they had notched up record highs and they did manage to end well off their lows of the session on Friday.

According to the US Department of Labor, hiring jumped by 272,000 persons in May, easily surpassing forecasts for a rise of 185,000.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.22% to 523.55 by the end of trading.

Germany’s Dax dropped 0.51% to 18,577.27 while the Spanish Ibex 35 gave back 0.34% to trade at 11,404.90.

In other economic news, German exports rose by 1.6% in April compared with the previous month, the second straight month of gains, and better than forecasts of a 1.1% rise.

The monthly gains were driven by exports to China, up 0.8% to €8.4bn, and the UK, up 15.4% to €7.4bn.

Imports gained 1.9% month-on-month.

Final estimates for first-quarter economic and jobs data in the eurozone were in line with preliminary estimates on Friday, with both showing a moderate expansion on the preceding three months.

Gross domestic product growth was unrevised at 0.3% over the first three months of the 2024, meeting market forecasts and showing a rebound from the 0.1% contraction registered in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The German economy is gaining momentum after two years of weakness, the Bundesbank said on Friday, despite “stubborn” inflation.

Publishing its latest forecast for Germany, the central bank said the economy was “slowly regaining its footing” after a two-year period of weakness.

It forecast calendar-adjusted GDP of just 0.3% this year, but expects it to rise to 1.1% in 2025 and 1.4% in 2026.

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