-Weak PMI send stocks lower.
-Greek credit rating cut.
-Peugeot rises on possible alliance with GM.
Ibex 35: -1.04%
FTSE Mibtel: -0.74%
European stock markets were mostly down at the close on Wednesday after a weak reading from a closely watched manufacturing and services purchasing managers index for Europe. The index, which is compiled by Markit Economics, fell from a reading of 50.4 in January to 49.7, below expectations.
Greece’s credit rating was cut by Fitch Ratings to the agency’s lowest level, ‘CCC’, in response to the bailout agreement agreed with other Eurozone countries on Monday.
The French car maker, Peugeot, climbed 12.4% after several sources confirmed the company was in talks with American giant General Motors. The exact nature of the deal isn’t clear although it’s thought cooperation on engine development and sharing common ‘platforms’ may be attractive to both management teams.
In a concerning development for the oil market, Iran denied United Nations nuclear inspectors access to a military facility. Heightened tension in the region over Iran has seen oil prices rise to highs not seen since the Spring of 2011. By 16:33pm in London Brent crude was at $122.78 per barrel, a gain of 0.92% since the fix.
German travel giant TUI fell 7.5% on a Bloomberg report that BNP Paribas is managing the sale of 12.85 million shares in the firm at EUR6.05.
France Telecom has warned that it may cut its dividend payments by up to 14% in 2012.
Nexity, the French real estate service firm dropped 6.6% after saying 2012 would be a bad year for new home sales and commercial property.
The weakest sector on the Stoxx Europe 600 was Banks, which fell 2.3% while the strongest was Food and Beverages, gaining 0.08% just before the close.
The German manufacturing sector purchasing managers’ index for February has come in at 50.1 (Consensus: 51.5), while a similar gauge for the services sector fell to 52.6 (Consensus: 53.9), from the previous month´s reading of 53.7.
The French manufacturing sector purchasing managers´ index for February has come in at 50.2 (Consensus: 49.0), while the services sector index fell to 50.3 (Consensus: 52.0), from the previous month´s reading of 52.3.
Eurozone industrial orders grew by 1.9% month-on-month in December (Consensus: 0.5%).
The Euro/dollar had gained 0.11% to hit $1.3248 by 5:59pm in Frankfurt.