European stocks open lower amid Fed, U.S. debt worries; Dax down 0.12%

A A A - European stocks opened lower on Thursday, as markets were jittery amid sustained uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve will soon begin tapering its stimulus program and as U.S. budget concerns weighed.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 dipped 0.03%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.20%, while Germany's DAX 30 slipped 0.12%.

Investors were eyeing the final reading of U.S. second quarter gross domestic product due later in the day, after a recent string of economic reports underlined concerns over the outlook for the U.S. economic recovery.

Stronger-than-expected GDP data would likely fuel speculation that the Fed could announce a stimulus reduction before the year end.

Last week, the Fed said it wanted to see more evidence of a sustained economic recovery before it reduced stimulus.

Separately, U.S. budget concerns weighed as Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives notified members that a vote on raison the debt limit could come as early as Friday.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale slid 0.64% and 0.25%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank tumbled 1.06%.

Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA fell 0.18% and 0.36% respectively, while Italy's Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo retreated 0.68% and 1.08%.

Among earnings, Hennes & Mauritz soared 6.82% after the clothing retailer reported quarterly profit that topped estimates for the first time this fiscal year, supported by the opening of its online store in the U.S. and new brands.

In London, FTSE 100 eased 0.02%, weighed by losses in the insurance sector.

Shares in RSA Insurance and Old Mutual plummeted 1.81% and 1.85% respectively after Lloyd's of London, the world's oldest insurance market, reported a 9.8% drop in first-half profit as investment returns slumped.

On the upside, mining giants Anglo American and BHP Billiton gained 0.03% and 0.35%, while rival company Evraz jumped 1.73%.

In the financial sector, stocks were mixed. The Royal Bank of Scotland added 0.23% and Lloyds Banking climbed 0.43%, while HSBC Holdings and Barclays lost 0.33% and 0.81% respectively.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.25% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.32% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.51% climb.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims, as well as final data on second quarter growth and private sector data on pending home sales. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing , Forex and Currencies

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