European markets were slightly higher today after Wall Street snapped a three-day losing streak, with attention turning to key economic data from the euro zone and U.K.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 gained 0.3% in early trade, with autos adding 0.9% to lead gains as all sectors except basic resources entered positive territory.
U.K. economic activity posted its strongest growth on record in May, according to flash PMI (purchasing managers’ index) readings published Friday.
The IHS Markit composite PMI hit 62.0, its highest since the survey was launched in 1998 and up from 60.7 the previous month, as British services firms reopened following a prolonged lockdown period and manufacturers benefited from the global demand recovery.
In the euro zone, business growth hit its fastest pace for more than three years. The initial flash composite PMI came in at 56.9 compared to April’s 53.8. U.K. retail sales also jumped 9.2% in April, double the average projection in a Reuters poll of economists, official data showed today, indicating that pent-up consumer demand is beginning to kick in.
A flash euro zone consumer confidence reading is published at 3 p.m. London time.