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Eurozone contracts 0.3% during the last quarter

Midweek was graced with a raft of economic data, the foremost of which was GDP announcements within Europe.

A decrease in German exports led to an economic contraction of 0.2% in the final quarter of 2011, in line with the UK although behind France that posted results much above expectations with a 0.2% expansion during the same period. Italy and the Netherlands fared less well slipping into recession after both recording a surprise 0.7% contraction in the last three months of the year. For 2011 as a whole, France grew at 1.7% and Germany grew at 1.5% whilst the overall growth for the eurozone was 0.8% following the latest quarterly figure of -0.3% (better than the anticipated -0.4%). Aspects of the results and recent forward looking indicators are brighter points in an otherwise gloomy economic picture across Europe.

Effects of the Eurozone troubles were evident in quarterly results from BNP Paribas today, with net profit during the period hit by write down on Greek bonds and costs associated with restructuring. Despite this, there were however positives for France’s biggest listed bank as it envisaged a more stable 2012 and the reaching of capital adequacy requirements in advance of the June deadline. The results were better than many had expected and shares traded higher by around 3%.

The FTSE100 struggled with resistance levels above 5900, weighed down somewhat by a number of shares trading without their dividend appeal as of today. These included high profile companies such as AstraZeneca, BP and Royal Dutch Shell. The index came off its highs towards the close of trade to finish at 5892 points, a relatively unexciting 0.1% loss for the day. The CAC and DAX were around 0.5% higher, whilst more concerning was the continued ascent of Brent crude which added another portage point today to trade above $118/bbl on Middle East tensions and an explosion at a major pipeline in Syria.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by James .

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