By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets largely edged higher Monday, starting the new week on a cautious note as investors digested weak Chinese economic data.
Economic data released earlier Monday showed China’s economic growth rate unexpectedly slowing in July, prompting the country’s central bank to cut key lending rates in a surprise move.
Industrial output grew 3.8% in July from a year earlier, with the growth rate below the 4.6% increase expected, while retail sales rose 2.7% from a year ago, missing forecasts for 5.0% growth and the 3.1% growth seen in June.
China's economy, the world’s second largest, is struggling to shake off the June quarter's hit to growth from strict COVID restrictions.
On the flip side, back in Europe, Denmark’s economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter, expanding 0.7% from the first three months of the year, after GDP contracted 0.5% in the first quarter of 2022.
The European Central Bank raised interest rates by a half-point in July and is expected to do the same in September, even though the risk of a Eurozone recession has reached the highest level since November 2020 as energy shortages threaten to drive already record inflation higher still.
In corporate news, AstraZeneca (LON: AZN ) (NASDAQ: AZN ) stock rose 2.6% after the drugmaker said its cancer drug, Enhertu, delayed the progression of a form of advanced breast cancer in previously treated patients, boosting prospects of more regulatory approvals.
Henkel (ETR: HNKG_p ) stock rose 0.4% after the German consumer-goods company said sales rose in the first half of the year but that earnings fell, hurt by increasing raw-material and logistics prices.
Oil prices fell Monday, weighed by a potential increase in supply by oil giant Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL: 2222 ) as well as concerns of slowing growth in China, the world's second-largest economy.
Saudi Aramco stands ready to raise crude oil output to its maximum capacity of 12 million barrels per day if requested to do so by the Saudi Arabian government, Chief Executive Amin Nasser said Sunday, as the state-owned energy firm announced one of the largest quarterly profits in history.
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