* Chinese data suggest second quarter slowdown less sharp
* European shares track Asian gains after Chinese data
* Oil firm at 3-1/2 month high, copper sheds gains
By Marc Jones
LONDON, July 15 European stocks rose on Monday
along with the commodities-linked Australian dollar after data
suggested China's second quarter economic slowdown was not as
bad as feared.
European shares on the broad FTSEurofirst 300
opened up 0.5 percent as London's FTSE, Frankfurt's DAX
and Paris's CAC 40 outpaced bourses in Asia
with gains of 0.5-0.7 percent.
China's second quarter economic growth cooled to 7.5 percent
from a year ago as expected, while other figures showed a
healthy rise in retail sales and a minor undershoot of forecasts
in industrial output.
Comments by Beijing officials last week had led some parts
of the market to think the growth numbers might have been
The relief left oil hovering at a 3-1/2 month high
at just over $109 a barrel and though copper - usually
closely attuned to China's fortunes - gave up its initial gains,
the Australian dollar climbed 0.4 percent to $0.9087.
"The Chinese data was in line, which was a relief," Jawaid
Afsar, sales trader at SecurEquity, said. "Markets should
continue to move higher."
The euro and the dollar both saw quiet starts
to European trading while in the bond market, focus was turning
to U.S. retail sales data that will add fuel to the
debate over the U.S. Federal Reserve's stimulus plans.
Bund futures were 12 ticks lower on the day at
143.51 having gained almost two points last week. French yields
were up 1.9 basis points after Fitch became the
last of the big rating firms to strip Paris of its AAA status.