European stocks rise as miners shine, but head for third monthly loss in a row

European stocks moved higher Thursday, as basic resources shares rose following better-than-expected manufacturing data from China, but retail shares struggled after a warning from French supermarket chain Carrefour SA.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index

SXXP, +0.51%

 picked up 0.5% to 372.89, led by the basic materials and industrials groups, but the consumer services sector fell.

The regional benchmark was on track for a fall of 1.3% for August, which would mark its third straight month of losses. Stocks have been hurt by strength in the euro

EURUSD, +0.1178%

 , which recently hit a more than two-year high against the U.S. dollar and a roughly eight-year high against the pound

EURGBP, +0.3915%


Miners lead: Gains overall on Thursday were led by a jump in shares of metals producers, which pushed the Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources Index

SXPP, +1.61%

 up by 1.8%. Miners climbed after an official gauge of China’s factory activity rose in August. China is a key buyer of industrial and precious metals, making mining companies sensitive to developments in the world’s second-largest economy.

Among top movers in the group, copper producer Antofagasta PLC 

ANTO, +4.04%

 tacked on 4.2%, and Anglo American PLC

AAL, +2.60%

 bulked up 2.9%. Steel producer ArcelorMittal

MT, +1.82%

 added 1.6%.

Stock movers: Food and drug retailers were under pressure as Carrefour

CA, -14.21%

 tumbled 14%. The supermarket chain cut its sales guidance for the year and flagged difficult trading conditions in some of its international markets. Carrefour also said the market was difficult in France because of strong competition.

Shares of Carrefour’s French rival Casino Guichard-Perrachon S.A.

CO, -5.32%

 fell 5.8%.

Economic docket: Inflation in the eurozone is expected to accelerate to 1.5% in August, according to a first flash reading from Eurostat released Thursday. That compares with a reading of 1.3% in July and a FactSet estimate of 1.4%. Core inflation was at 1.2% in August, meeting expectations.

Unemployment in the eurozone was at 9.1% in July, Eurostat said, unchanged from June and down from 10% in July 2016.

The euro rose slightly to $1.1907 after the August eurozone inflation data.

In Germany, jobless claims dropped 5,000 as expected in August and the unemployment rate stayed at a record low of 5.7%, the BA labor agency said Thursday.

U.K. consumer confidence edged up two points in August to -10, coming back from a reading of -12 in July that matched 2016’s post-Brexit low, GfK said.

Indexes: Germany’s DAX 30 index

DAX, +0.50%

rose 0.6% to 12,071.02, and France’s CAC 40 index

PX1, +0.49%

 added 0.5% to reach 5,080.54. In London, the FTSE 100

UKX, +0.66%

 tacked on 0.5% to 7,404.22.

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