European Markets Taking A Breather; Foxtons, Ryanair, ASOS and Petrofac In The News

European markets took a breather on Wednesday, with weak economic data from France and Italy and worse than expected German confidence data providing no more impetus to sustain the recent two-day rally.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index and the FTSE 100 were little changed this morning even as the former climbed nearly 2% this week and the latter reached a seven-week high after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted at action to boost growth and combat inflation last week.

London real estate company, Foxtons (FOXT) shares dropped by more than 5% after the agency forecast that the London's booming real estate market would cool off. Foxtons said that stricter mortgage lending rules and growing exceptions of an interest rate rise are hitting demand. Shares in Foxtons fell 5.44% to 278.30 pence in London trading.

Ryanair (RYA) shares rose 2.6% to EUR7.12 in early trading Wednesday as the budget airline announced the launch of a business class service aimed at corporate customers.

Shares in ASOS ( ASC ) an online clothing retailer jumped nearly 16% after a British newspaper referred to a "vague speculation of interest," from a US stake buyer. Shares were trading at 2676.63 pence earlier.

Petrofac (PFC), the UK's largest oil and gas engineer, rose 2.9% to 1,156 pence after S&P Capital upgraded the shares to strong buy from buy. S&P said potential bid pipeline wins before the end of the year and the company addressing issues at its division for integrated-energy services as reasons for the upgrade.

Ahead of the Scottish referendum on September 18 business leaders argued in an open letter that the case for Scottish independence has not been made. The letter was organized by Keith Cochrane, CEO of Weir Group and signed by business leaders including Ian Marchant, former CEO of the utility SSE and Andrew Mackenzie, CEO BHP Billiton, is the biggest business intervention in the referendum debate so far.

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

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