By Dow Jones Business News, March 13, 2013, 07:52:00 AM EDT
By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
MADRID (MarketWatch) -- European stock markets fell on Wednesday, extending a modest decline after weaker-than-
expected output data for the region, with drug and bank stocks leading the way lower as investors questioned the recent
run for equities.
ASM International NV, Inditex SA and Enel SpA were among the biggest decliners.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.3% to 294.47, after eking out a gain of less than 0.1% in a lackluster session
Tuesday after data showed the U.K. slipping back into recession.
U.S. stock-market futures were pointing to a slightly lower start for Wall Street on a busy data day, while the
Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.1%.
January euro-zone industrial-production fell 0.4% on a monthly basis, a steeper-than-expected decline and the fourth
fall in five months, said economists at Capital Economics.
"January's fall in euro-zone industrial production is a timely reminder that, despite the improvement in business and
financial market sentiment, the region may have remained in recession in Q1," said Ben May, European economist in a
Sluggish manufacturing output data out of the U.K. on Tuesday raised fears that economy is headed for a triple-dip
recession and weighed on the British pound.
Among individual names, shares of ASM International ( ASMI ) slid 14% after the Dutch semiconductor firm said it would
an 8% to 12% stake in ASM Pacific Technology Ltd via a partial secondary share placement. The company said it was making
this move in order to address the nonrecognition by markets of the value of the combined business of the company.
Spanish retailer Inditex fell nearly 3% after the group reported a 22% profit rise, but analysts were disappointed by
fourth-quarter sales, gross margin, cash generation, its dividend and store-opening guidance.
The heavyweight for the Spain IBEX 35 helped drag that index down 0.6% to 8,481, making it one of the worst-
performing regional markets.
Shares of Enel fell over 5% after the Italian utility reportedly posted a drop in net income for 2012. The FTSEMIB
Italy index fell 0.6% to 15,935.69.
Also in Italy, borrowing costs rose in the country's first bond auction since the government's credit rating was cut
to BBB plus from A minus by Fitch Ratings last week.
Major banks fell across the board, with HSBC PLC ( HBC ) down 1% and Standard Chartered PLC off more than 1%.
Over 1% losses from miners such as Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) and BHP Billiton PLC ( BHP ) dragged the FTSE 100 index 0.7%
lower to 6,461.08.
Autos also marked a weak spot for markets on Wednesday with Renault SA losing 1.4% and Volkswagen AG down nearly a
percent. The French CAC 40 index fell 0.4% to 3,824.90 and the German DAX 30 index fell 0.2% to 7,949.17.
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