European Shares Hold Steady As US Default Worries Ease

European stocks held steady on Friday, with optimism over a debt deal in the U.S. and encouraging retail sales data from the U.K. helping underpin investor sentiment to some extent.

Reports suggested earlier in the day that U.S. lawmakers are inching closer to an agreement that would raise the debt limit for about two years and cap federal spending at the same level as fiscal 2023 for two years.

In economic releases, official data showed U.K. retail sales recovered in April driven by food and non-food turnover.

The retail sales volume increased 0.5 percent month-on-month, in contrast to the 1.2 percent fall in March. Sales were forecast to grow more moderately by 0.3 percent.

On a yearly basis, retail sales dropped at a slower pace of 3.0 percent, in line with expectations, after a 3.9 percent decrease in March.

The pan European STOXX 600 was up 0.2 percent at 457.22 after losing 0.3 percent to close at an eight-week low on Thursday.

The German DAX was little changed with a negative bias, while France’s CAC 40 and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 were marginally higher.

The dollar edged lower in European trade but was on course for its third consecutive weekly gain amid speculation that the Federal Reserve may raise rates again in June.

Tech stocks traded mostly higher following positive earnings from U.S. chipmaker NVIDIA. ASM International jumped 4.2 percent and Infineon rose over 1 percent.

Miners Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore all jumped around 3 percent on U.S. debt deal optimism.

AstraZeneca gained half a percent after a combination of its cancer drugs Imfinzi and Lynparza showed positive results in a late-stage trial.

U.K. Commercial Property REIT, a real estate investment trust, added nearly 2 percent.

The company has sold its Webley Logics Asset in London measuring 186,455 sq ft for 74 million pounds to Covent Garden IP Limited, a registered charity.

Casino plunged 8.5 percent. The French debt-ridden retailer said it was officially started court-backed negotiations with its creditors.

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