European Shares Drop After Weak China PMI Sparks Fears of Slowdown


European stocks retreated after weak purchasing managers data out of China.

HSBC's Flash January Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for China came in at 49.6, down from last month's final reading of 50.5 and at a six-month low.

Fears of a slowdown in China overshadowed more upbeat data in Europe. Data firm Markit said its preliminary composite PMI in the eurozone rose to 53.2 in January from 52.1 in December, signaling the most rapid expansion since June 2011 and beating expectations.

Business activity in Germany expanded at the most rapid pace in just over 21/2 years, but fell in France for the third straight month.

In other news, Spain's unemployment rate was unchanged at 26% in Q413, after declining for two consecutive quarters. In the Netherlands, the jobless rate rose to 8.5% in December from 8.2% in November.

Italy's trade surplus with countries outside the EU surged last year, to EUR20 billion ($27 billion) from EUR800 million in 2012.

The eurozone current account balance increased in adjusted terms to a surplus of EUR23.5 billion, compared with an upwardly-revised EUR22.2 billion surplus in October. In the 12 months ending in November, the cumulative current account surplus equaled 2.3% of GDP compared with 1.2% of GDP one year earlier.

U.K. car production rose 3.1% last year to its highest level since 2007.

In ADR news, Logitech International SA ( LOGI ) said sales rose to $628 million in the three months ending Dec. 31, exceeding the average analyst estimate for a drop to $594.7 million. Net income climbed to $48.5 million, more than the $31 million projected by analysts. LOGI also increased its operating-income forecast to as much as $125 million for its full financial year, compared with $100 million previously.

Delhaize Group SA ( DEG ) said revenue rose in Q4, and it will continue to cut costs in 2014.

Nokia ( NOK ) said Q4 revenue at the Solutions & Networks unit, which accounts for 90% of the "new" NOK sales without the handset unit, dropped 22%. NOK is in the process of selling its handset unit to Microsoft ( MSFT ).

The FTSE-100 was last down 0.78% at 6,773.28, the DAX down 0.92% at 9,631.04 and the CAC-40 down 1.02% at 4,280.96.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: DEG , LOGI , MSFT , NOK

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