European stocks remain mostly lower after PMI data; Dax down 0.33%

A A A - European stocks remained mostly lower on Thursday, after the release of tepid data out of the euro zone, while the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting signalled the possibility for near-term tapering of its stimulus program.

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.29%, France's CAC 40 retreated 0.44%, while Germany's DAX 30 slid 0.33%.

Data showed that manufacturing activity in the euro zone expanded in line with forecasts in November, but service sector activity declined unexpectedly, indicating that the recovery in the bloc is losing momentum.

The euro zone's manufacturing purchasing managers' index ticked up to 51.5 in November from a final reading of 51.3 in October, while the services PMI declined to 50.9 this month from 51.6 in October, disappointing expectations for an increase to 51.9.

However, Germany's manufacturing PMI rose to a 29 month high this month, while the services sector PMI rose to a nine-month high.

According to the minutes of the Fed's October meeting, policymakers said they could start scaling back the USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program in the "coming months" if the economy continues to improve as expected.

Financial stocks were mixed, as BNP Paribas rose 0.35% and Societe Generale declined 0.47% in France, while Germany's Deutsche Bank slipped 0.19%.

Among peripheral lenders, BBVA dipped 0.02% and Banco Santander gained 0.47% in Spain, while Italy's Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo rallied 1.21% and 1.74% respectively.

Atos plunged 3.39% after the French computer services company said it sold 8.9 million shares.

Zurich Insurance Group erased earlier losses and rose 0.32% after selling its entire stake in New China Life Insurance Co. for USD943 million.

In London, FTSE 100 eased 0.01%, even as data showed that U.K. industrial order expectations improved significantly more-than-expected in November.

Financial stocks turned broadly higher, as HSBC Holdings eased up 0.03% and the Royal Bank of Scotland advanced 0.96%, while Lloyds Banking and Barclays jumped 1.03% and 1.15%.

Meanwhile, mining stocks remained sharply lower. Shares in Antofogasta plummeted 2.04% and Randgold Resources lost 2.12%, while rivals Fresnillo and Vedanta Resources plunged 2.60% and 3.23%.

Elsewhere, SABMiller, up 1.08%, posted first-half earnings that topped analysts' estimates, while Johnson Matthey, still the top performer, reported a profit increase, sending shares up 2.89%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.24% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.21% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.29% increase.

Also Thursday, data showed that China's HSBC manufacturing index ticked down to 50.4 in November, from a final reading of 50.9 in October, missing forecasts for a reading of 50.8.

Later in the day, the U.S. was release data on producer price inflation, as well as the weekly report on initial jobless claims and data manufacturing activity from the Philly Fed. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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