By RTT News, October 02, 2013, 07:19:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The European markets are trading lower on Wednesday, ahead of the policy decision from European Central Bank, amid the political uncertainty in Italy where Prime Minister Enrico Letta may hold a confidence vote.
The European Central Bank is slated to announce its interest rate decision at 7.45 am ET. The bank is expected to retain its refi rate at a record low 0.50 percent. The announcement will be followed by the customary post-decision press conference by ECB President Mario Draghi at 8.30 am ET.
Meanwhile, British construction sector growth eased unexpectedly in September, a survey by Markit Economics revealed. The headline Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index fell to 58.9 in September from a near six-year high of 59.1 in August. Economists had forecast the index to rise to 59.5.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party announced over the weekend that its ministers would resign from the Cabinet. Prime Minister Enrico Letta is expected to hold a confidence vote today to save the government.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.46 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.67 percent.
The German DAX is losing 0.6 percent and Switzerland's SMI is falling just over 1 percent. The French CAC 40 and Switzerland's SMI are declining 0.8 percent each.
In Frankfurt, Lufthansa is losing 3 percent. Deutsche Bank cut the stock to 'Hold'' from ''Buy.''
K+S is falling 2.2 percent and Bayer is sliding 1.2 percent.
Basf is losing 0.7 percent. The chemical giant raised the long-term sales target for its Crop Protection division.
Deutsche Bank reduced its rating on Air Berlin to ''Sell'' from ''Buy.'' The stock is losing 2.2 percent.
Drug delivery devices maker Gerresheimer reported higher profit and revenue for the third quarter and backed its full year forecast. The stock is gaining 3.4 percent.
In Paris, Essilor International is declining close to 3 percent and Schneider Electric is falling 2.3 percent.
Saint-Gobain and LVMH are losing 1.6 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Danone is losing 1 percent. New Zealand-based dairy exporter Fonterra confirmed that it is in a dispute resolution process with Danone, following the whey protein concentrate precautionary recall initiated in August.
Credit Agricole and Societe Generale are gaining 2.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
In London, Tesco is losing 3.5 percent. The supermarket chain reported lower profit for the first half of the year, amid challenging economic conditions overseas, particularly in Europe.
Sainsbury is falling 1.2 percent. The retailer said its total sales for the second quarter grew 5.0 percent, including fuel. On a like-for-like basis, quarterly sales went up 2.1 percent.
Unilever is losing 1.8 percent. UBS cut the stock to ''Neutral'' from ''Buy.''
Dunelm Group is declining 5 percent after first-quarter like-for-like sales fell.
Barclays is moderately higher after Societe Generale raised the stock to ''Buy'' from ''Hold.''
KappAhl is dropping 4.4 percent. The Swedish clothing retailer decided not to pay dividend for the financial year.
In the U.S., futures point to a lower open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages moved to the upside going into the close, ending the day higher. The Dow rose 0.4 percent, the Nasdaq jumped 1.2 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent.
Asian stock markets traded mostly higher, tracking positive cues from the previous session on Wall Street.
In the commodity space, crude for November delivery is falling $0.25 to $101.79 per barrel while December gold is gaining $7.6 to $1293.7 a troy ounce.
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