(Sharecast News) - European shares were lower at midday on Friday as investors continued to fret over the US Federal Reserve's move towards a hawkish tone on asset purchases.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.37% with regional bourses following suit.
In the UK, official data revealed an unexpected 1.4% fall in May retail sales against forecasts of a 1.5% - 1.6% rise as restaurants reopened and people shifted some of their spending from food stores, although they remained above pre-pandemic levels.
The pound fell to a new six-week low on the news, shedding a further 0.4% against the dollar on Friday morning, leaving it at $1.3865 for the first time in close to seven weeks.
In Germany, the May Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 1.5% against April outstripping the 0.7% consensus forecast. On an annual basis, the PPI was 7.2% against a projection of 6.4%.
"European indices saw a mixed start to the session on Friday but have mostly turned red as investors dial down their risk in the wake of the Fed's slightly hawkish meeting," said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.
"What the Fed's meeting also told us was that once inflation expectations become unanchored, it's a tough job to re-anchor them."
In equity news, shares in car dealership Inchcape rose as the company said full-year pre-tax profit is set to be "significantly ahead" of market consensus of £216m after a better-than-expected performance in the first half.
Irish food company Kerry was up after agreeing to sell its consumer foods' meats and meals business in the UK and Ireland to Pilgrim's Pride for €819m.
Tesco shares slipped after the UK supermarket giant revealed a slowdown in first-quarter sales as coronavirus pandemic restrictions were lifted and people started to eat out more.
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