Weak data send U.K. stocks wobbling
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Weak industrial-production data out of the euro zone and downbeat retail sales in the U.S. painted a gloomy picture for growth in the second quarter, taking most of the steam out of a positive session for U.K. stocks.
The FTSE 100 index (UKX) closed up 0.2% at 5,483.81, after the index traded between gains and losses for most of the action.
The benchmark was sent lower with other European equity indexes after data showed industrial production for the euro area slumped 0.8% in April compared with March, the lowest level since September 2010.
"Prospects for the sector seem rather weak for Q2 and it seems likely at this stage that [industrial production] may be more negative in Q2 than in Q1," analysts at Barclays Research said in a note. "Besides, today's data provided the first hard data evidence confirming the negative picture painted by the very weak overall business confidence levels released so far."
Weak U.S. retail sales further drove the index into losses, as sales fell in May for a second month in a row, making it the first back-on-back decline in two years. Retail sales fall in May for second month in row
Shares of J Sainsbury (SBRY) posted one of the biggest drops in London, off 2.6%, after the grocer said in a trading update that total sales for its fiscal first quarter rose 3.6%. Same-store sales excluding fuel increased 1.4%. Analysts said the comparable sales were below expectations.
That hit other retailers, such as
On a more positive note in London,