European stocks weak despite tailwind from Chinese output data

European stocks weak despite tailwind from Chinese output data

Economic and human cost of new Covid-19 variants weigh on investor sentiment

European equity markets struggled for direction on Monday as strong economic data from China vied with concerns over a double-dip recession in the UK and the eurozone.

Chinese markets had been lifted by news that the world’s second-biggest economy grew 6.5 per cent in the fourth quarter — a faster rate than before the coronavirus pandemic, and above expectations. Economic output expanded 2.3 per cent during the course of 2020, easily outstripping other big economies.

The CSI 300 index of Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stock rose 1.1 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 1 per cent higher.

European stocks were muted by comparison. The continent-wide Stoxx 600 index was up a little more than 0.1 per cent in late-morning trading, while Germany’s Xetra Dax rose 0.3 per cent. London’s FTSE 100 benchmark was flat.