European equities dip as oil steadies

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New York - Europe's main stock markets retreated Friday following mixed economic data, while oil prices stabilised and the tech-rich Nasdaq advanced on Wall Street.

Bourses in both Paris and Frankfurt dipped after a report from data monitoring company IHS Markit showed eurozone private sector business activity slowed sharply in June while staying in expansion mode.

London also ended modestly lower in a session that marked the one-year anniversary of Britain's historic vote to exit the EU.

On Friday, European leaders assessed a proposal from British Prime Minister Theresa May concerning the rights of EU citizens in Britain.

"It was a good start, but also not yet a breakthrough," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU's most powerful leader, adding that there was still a "long way to go."

US stocks ended mostly higher after leading technology companies such as Microsoft and Facebook won one percent or more to boost the Nasdaq 0.5%.

Analysts said the second straight increase in oil prices lifted broader market sentiment after petroleum prices sank to multi-month lows earlier in the week. But worries about excess supply were expected to continue to pressure oil prices.

"Since the same old worries about over-supply persist the bearish sentiment will hang around for some time," said David Madden, analyst with CMC Markets.

Large US retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores, Home Depot and Costco Wholesale, tumbled about one percent or more after a disappointing earnings report by Bed Bath & Beyond rekindled worries about the sector's prospects with the rise of e-commerce.

A note from Morningstar said Bed Bath & Beyond's earnings would be challenged by "ongoing pricing pressure and secularly slower footfalls expected across the brick-and-mortar landscape" and predicted that rivals like Amazon and Wayfair would "continue to chip away at Bed Bath's market share, making pricing gains nearly impossible."

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