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Europe Markets: European stocks turn lower as focus turns to U.S. jobs report

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European stocks couldn’t hold early gains on Thursday, as traders waited for the latest U.S. jobs data as well as a Bank of England decision.

Up 1.8% on Wednesday and 11% in 2021, the Stoxx Europe 600
SXXP,
-0.18%

slipped 0.4%.

“We believe higher-than-expected inflation, if not exactly overheating, remains one of the key risks for equity markets in the near term,” said Daniel Morris, chief market strategist at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “This Friday’s data on U.S. nonfarm payrolls should be a good indicator of how meaningful the overheating risk is becoming.”

U.S. stock futures
ES00,
+0.13%

NQ00,
+0.21%

inched higher. Vaccine makers including Pfizer
PFE,
+0.05%

traded lower in premarket trade after the U.S. said it would support intellectual-property waivers. AstraZeneca
AZN,
+0.53%

was steady in London trade.

In the U.K., the question is whether the Bank of England will join the Bank of Canada in reducing the rate of its bond purchases, from the current weekly pace of £4.4 billion. The U.K. also is holding elections, the most important to financial markets being the Scottish Parliament race, which could see pro-independence parties winning.

Earnings results continued to flow. Banks Société Générale
GLE,
+4.04%

and UniCredit
UCG,
+4.70%

each climbed 4% after reporting stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings.

Satellite operator SES
SES,
+7.39%

climbed 7%, after reporting a 42% rise in adjusted profit in the first quarter, as lower recurring operating expenses, lower depreciation and amortization expenses, and lower net interest expense offset a 9% drop in revenue. SES also announced a €100 million stock buyback.

Anheuser-Busch InBev
ABI,
+4.98%

rose 5%, as the brewer reported stronger-than-expected earnings and said Michel Doukeris, president of its North American operations, will replace Carlos Brito as chief executive.

Online pharmacy operator Shop Apotheke Europe
SAE,
-6.56%

dropped 8%, as its loss widened on rising costs while sales jumped 22% in the first quarter, while it also confirmed financial targets for the year. The stock has surged 122% over the last 12 months.

Superdry
SDRY,
+16.85%

shares rose 16%, as the clothing retailer said sales edged up 1% in the fourth quarter ending April 24, while a 27% gain in e-commerce and a 14% rise in wholesale revenue offset a 52% plunge in store revenue.

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