August 25, 2017 / 7:30 AM / a month ago

Retail stocks lag quiet European market open on competition worries

MILAN, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Fresh worries over competition hit Ahold and other European retail stocks in opening deals on Friday as the broader market inched higher ahead of speeches by central bankers at the Jackson Hole gathering in the U.S.

Ahold fell 5 percent after online giant Amazon.com said it will cut prices on a range of goods as it completes its acquisition of Whole Foods Market.

The Dutch supermarket has a strong presence on the east coast of the U.S..

But gains among financials and a continued rally in Fiat Chrysler shares on ongoing merger talk helped support the broader market, sending the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.2 percent by 0707 GMT. Britain’s FTSE also rose by 0.2 percent.

The retail index fell 0.8 percent, leading sectoral fallers in the region. Elsewhere in the sector shares in French supermarkets Casino and Carrefour fell 0.9 percent and 1.4 percent respectively, while Tesco and Sainsbury were also lower.

Provident Financial led gainers on the STOXX, up 8.2 percent. The UK subprime lender, which has lost close to 60 percent of its market value this week after a second profit warning in quick succession, said it had replaced the managing director of its beleaguered home credit business. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni)

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