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European markets close lower after US retail sales disappoint
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower on Thursday following the release of much weaker-than-expected retail sales data. The S&P 500 dipped 0.27%, while Dow pulled back 103.88 points to 25,439.39 as shares of Coca-Cola had their worst day since 2008. The Nasdaq Composite, however, eked out a gain of 0.1 percent to close at 7,426.95 as Netflix's stock climbed more than 2 percent.
Retail sales fell 1.2 percent in December, marking their biggest monthly drop since September 2009, according to The Commerce Department. The department also said retail sales fell 0.9 percent in December when excluding gasoline station sales.
European stocks slipped lower on Thursday after a flurry of earnings results was superseded by disappointing U.S. retail data. Europe's industrials stocks led the gains initially, up more than 1 percent amid earnings news.
France's Airbus was one of the top sectoral performers, after the company announced stronger-than-anticipated fourth-quarter results. Europe's largest aerospace group also said it was scrapping its flagship A380 plane. Shares of the Paris-listed stock rose more than 2.6 percent on the day.
Looking at individual stocks, Micro Focus – Britain's second largest listed tech firm – surged to the top of the European benchmark on Thursday after posting a better-than-expected decline in pro-forma revenue. The stock gained more than 12 percent by the end of trade.