PMI data shows French economy ‘stalling’ amid Emmanuel Macron’s election turmoil

Retail sales in the UK have risen at their fastest pace since January as hotter weather and bank holidays tempted shoppers out to the high street.

The number of goods sold online and in shops rose 2.9pc in May, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That was better than most economists expected, beating the 1.8pc rise they predicted on average.

It comes after separate figures showed consumer confidence is also rising and inflation is falling back to normal levels. 

Experts said the surge in retail sales was partly a result of the two bank holidays in May.

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4) North Sea oil drilling threatened by landmark Supreme Court ruling | Emissions from fossil fuels must now be considered when approving new projects

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What happened overnight 

US markets opened again yesterday after a public holiday on Wednesday. The Dow rose 0.8pc to close at 39,134.96, the S&P 500 lost 0.3pc, closing at 5,473.22, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.8pc to close at 17,721.59.

The yield on benchmark 10-year US Treasury bonds climbed to 4.25pc from 4.22pc late on Tuesday.

In Asia on Thursday morning, equity benchmarks ticked higher in Japan and Australia, while Korean shares fell. A 1pc drop in the Golden Dragon index of US-listed Chinese companies weighed on sentiment.

US stock futures were steady in early Asian trading. The S&P 500 briefly topped 5,500 on Thursday before losing traction, while the high-flying tech group powering the bull run came under pressure. The Nasdaq 100 slipped after a seven-day advance with Nvidia and Apple leading losses in megacaps.

The yen held steady in early Friday trading after its longest losing streak since March put traders on alert for potential intervention. a

Japan’s top currency official Masato Kanda said that there’s no change in his stance to take appropriate measures if there are excessive currency moves. 


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