By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets dropped Friday, with sentiment hit by the large ECB rate hike , weak results from e-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) and a hefty drop in French quarterly growth.
French third-quarter gross domestic product rose 0.2% on the quarter, data released Friday showed, a gain of 1.0% on an annual basis. This represents a sharp slowdown from growth of 0.5% and 4.2%, respectively, in the previous quarter.
Spain also registered a slowdown, with its GDP growing just 0.2% on the quarter, a drop for the 1.5% growth the previous quarter, and this puts the spotlight on the crucial German numbers later in the session.
The tone had been set earlier after Amazon, widely seen as a bellwether for the global e-commerce industry, forecast late Thursday a slowdown in sales growth for the holiday season, warning that inflation-wary consumers and businesses had less money to spend.
The company pointed out that Europe was likely to be its hardest-hit region this holiday season, with Germany and Britain its biggest markets after the United States.
The European Central Bank raised interest rates by 75 basis points again on Thursday and said it expects to increase them "further", as it continues to aggressively fight red-hot inflation even as growth in the region slows dramatically.
In the corporate sector, Volkswagen (ETR: VOWG_p ) AG (ETR: VOWG ) stock fell 4% after the German auto giant’s third-quarter earnings were weighed down by 1.6 billion in one-off effects from suspending activities in Russia and listing Porsche (F: P911_p ) AG.
NatWest (LON: NWG ) stock slumped over 7% after the U.K. bank missed estimates for profit in the third quarter after booking a sharp rise in provisions against possible loan losses.
Sanofi (EPA: SASY ) (NASDAQ: SNY ) stock rose 1.2% after the French drugmaker forecast projected faster earnings growth this year on strong demand for its bestselling drug Dupixent and for its flu vaccines.
Porsche (ETR: PSHG_p ) stock fell 2.5% despite the luxury carmaker reporting a 40% leap in operating profit to more than 5 billion euros ($4.99 billion) in its first results since its stock market listing in late September.
Oil prices fell Friday, weighed by China, the world’s largest crude importer, imposing fresh Covid lockdowns in a number of cities as infections start to rise again, maintaining the country’s Covid Zero policy.
China reported 1,506 new COVID-19 infections on Oct. 27, the National Health Commission said on Friday, up from 1,264 new cases a day earlier.
However, despite these losses, the market is heading for a weekly gain, supported by supply tightness, robust U.S. exports, and a weakening U.S. dollar. Crude is also on course to gain in October following a run of four monthly declines.
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