UK and European stocks closed lower as eurozone PMI data indicated another slowdown in activity for the region’s manufacturing and services industry in May.
U.S. stocks dropped as Wall Street digested a strong rally this week along with the latest weekly jobless claims data.
The dollar traded in a narrow range as investors weighed the impact of the global economic lockdown, and the euro’s four-day rally against the U.S. currency on optimism about a closer fiscal union in Europe ran out of steam.
Oil prices rose to their highest since March, supported by lower U.S. crude inventories, OPEC-led supply cuts and recovering demand as governments ease restrictions on people’s movements.
Gold slipped as the dollar strengthened and hopes of a quick economic recovery dented bullion’s safe-haven appeal.
In corporate news, Rolls-Royce was the standout gainer, just days after saying it intends to cut at least 9,000 jobs as part of a plan to save more than £1.3bn a year in response to the “unprecedented” impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the aviation industry.
AstraZeneca was in the black as the pharmaceuticals giant said it was working on further agreements supported by several parallel supply chains, which would expand capacity in coming months to ensure the delivery of a globally accessible Covid-19 vaccine.
Whitbread was under the cosh after the pub and hotel operator said it was raising £1bn in a rights issue to bolster its balance sheet against the impact of the pandemic as it warned of a potential loss in 2021.