European shares fall as ArcelorMittal and Man Group slide

European shares fell on Friday, with steelmaker ArcelorMittal and hedge fund Man Group among the worst performers.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.3 percent lower at 1,303.30 points. The FTSEurofirst is down around 9 percent so far in 2016.

European stock markets had initially fallen to session lows after data which showed that the U.S. economy added 160,000 jobs last month, the fewest in seven months and well below the 202,000 forecast in a Reuters poll.

While that raised concerns about the state of the world’s biggest economy, it also cast doubts on whether the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates by the end of 2016, and the prospect of a delay soothed some investor worries..

Nevertheless, the euro rose against the dollar, which weighed on European stocks, since a stronger euro makes European exports more expensive and competing imports cheaper.

Gains by the euro could offset the European Central Bank’s economic stimulus and curtail the effects of any pick-up in emerging markets, said Mark Richards, global strategist for multi-asset solutions at JP Morgan Asset Management.

“As ECB policy tilts away from assisting currency depreciation and more towards easing via the credit channel, the euro has strengthened. This will partially offset any improvement in emerging market conditions,” Richards said.

ArcelorMittal fell 1.2 percent after the world’s largest steelmaker kept its guidance unchanged, while Man Group slumped 8.6 percent after Citigroup cut its rating on the stock to “sell” from “buy”.

Among stocks gaining ground was Monte dei Paschi di Siena , which rose 2.4 percent after the Italian bank reported better-than-expected first-quarter results .

“Monte dei Paschi results came in better than expected but looking more in detail, the fact that they have lost deposits and that core capital is weaker are not that good,” said Angelo Meda, portfolio manager at Banor Capital in Milan.

Source: Reuters

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