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May 21 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Thursday as investors braced for the latest batch of business activity data to underline the blow to the euro zone economy from sweeping lockdown measures imposed to curb the virus spread.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.9% by 0708 GMT, retreating from its strongest close in three weeks.
Stock markets globally have made headway this week as several countries emerged from lockdowns and talks of more stimulus for the battered euro zone economy revived hopes of a speedy recovery. However, rising U.S.-China trade tensions dented risk appetite on Thursday.
Investors are awaiting the release of IHS Markit’s manufacturing and services sector activity readings for May. The numbers are expected to rebound after hitting rock bottom in April.
Among stocks, Amsterdam-based telecoms and cable group Altice Europe NV fell 7.4% as it posted a worse-than-expected first-quarter core profit.
Lufthansa rose 3.8% amid talks with the German government over a rescue deal worth up to 9 billion euros ($9.9 billion), including the state taking a 20% stake. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)