European stocks slide 2.8% after weak euro zone data, new UK economic plan


European stocks were sharply lower on Friday, as investors digested a raft of central bank decisions and a new economic plan from the U.K.

The Stoxx 600 was down 2.8% in early afternoon trading, with all sectors and major bourses trading in the red.

Oil and gas stocks and basic resources were the biggest fallers, both down more than 4%.

Thursday’s market moves come after the U.K. government announced a raft of tax cuts as the country prepares for a recession. Sterling was down 1.8% against the dollar around midday to trade at $1.1048 following the news.

The Bank of England also hiked rates by 50 basis points Thursday — its seventh consecutive increase — and said it believed the U.K. economy was already in a recession.

Also Thursday, the Swiss National Bank hiked its benchmark rate to 0.5%, a shift that brings an end to an era of negative rates in Europe.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, meanwhile, hiked by another three-quarters of a percentage point Wednesday, and indicated that the hikes will keep on coming.

Bank of England raises benchmark rate by 50 basis points

U.S. stocks closed lower Thursday, their third consecutive daily decline, and futures were also lower on Friday.

Asia markets, meanwhile, were in the red, with Australian stocks down 2%.



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