UK and European stocks decline as investors await a US first-quarter economic growth report

<p>UK and European stocks have declined today after 4-5 days of climbing as investors await a US first-quarter economic growth report. Rio Tinto Group and […]</p>

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UK and European stocks have declined today after 4-5 days of climbing as investors await a US first-quarter economic growth report.
Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton have led miners to decline. PPR SA dropped 5% after failing to hit sales targets, with poor trading in the continent, and following reports of slow growth in China.

US index futures and Asian shares remained steady, with little change. Trading in Prudential PLC was suspended today on the Hong Kong Exchange – we are awaiting further information to be released.

Oil is currently trading at $93.05; Total SA declined 1.1% after reporting a drop in earnings. Gold climbed 11 cents to almost 1473.

In indices, the DAX is trading at 7835; the FTSE 100 is trading at 6442 and the Dow is at 14700.

In currencies, GBP/USD is trading at 1.5442; GBP/EUR at 1.1863 and EUR/USD at 1.3017.

Yen strengthened to 98.65 per dollar today as the BoJ pledged to double its monetary base in two years. For Asian investors the BoJ Press conference will be of interest today, along with the outlook report at 7am.

Back in the UK, the top performers of the day included Capita Plc, up 1.5%; ITV up 0.7% and HSBC Holdings up 0.6%. In the US, Verizon Communications Inc was up 2.7%; Cisco Systems was up 1.2% and International Business Machines Corp was up 1.1%.

Nomura Holdings posted its quarterly report, with profits beating expectations and tripling to the highest reported level in seven years.

In economic data, the advanced GDP report, forecast at 3.1%, will be released at 1.30pm GMT. Also keep an eye out for the revised US consumer sentiment and inflation expectations, which will be released later today.

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