Investing.com - European stocks remained lower on Wednesday, as investors remained cautious amid sustained concerns over the outlook for growth in the euro zone, while markets continued to eye developments in Cyprus.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 declined 0.79%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.54%, while Germany's DAX 30 slipped 0.27%.
Investors remained cautious after data on Tuesday showed that the euro zone's manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 46.8 in March, from a final reading of 47.9 the previous month, still substantially below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
Separately, Reuters reported that international lenders have given Cyprus until 2018 to meet new budget targets, including freezing public sector pensions, raising taxes and hiking public sector fees.
The Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris resigned on Tuesday after wrapping up bailout talks with lenders.
Financial stocks remained broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale dropped 0.32% and 0.51%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank retreated 0.64%.
Peripheral lenders added to losses, with Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit declining 0.43% and 0.89% respectively, while Spain's BBVA and Banco Santander tumbled 0.72% and 1.11%.
Elsewhere, EADS added 0.21%, erasing earlier losses, after its new board appointed Denis Ranque as chairman and backed a buyback of as much as 15% of stock to help support its share price during an ownership transition.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 retreated 0.47%, weighed by losses in mining stocks, while data showed that the U.K. construction sector remained in contraction territory for the fifth successive month in March.
Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw shares plummet 1.47% and 1.73%, while rivals Evraz and Eurasian Natural Resources dove 5.03% and 6.18% respectively.
Copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys also posted sharp losses, plunging 2.24% and 7.06%.
Also on the downside, Vodafone tumbled 2.45% after Verizon denied a Financial Times report that said it was discussing a plan with AT&T to make a joint offer for the U.K. telecommunications operator.
In the financial sector, stocks remained mostly lower. Shares in HSBC Holdings dropped 0.80% and Barclays declined 0.83%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland tumbled 1.18%. Lloyds Banking overperformed however, adding 0.26%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.10% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.17% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.15% increase.
Also Wednesday, preliminary data showed that consumer price inflation in the euro zone ticked down to an annualized rate of 1.7% in March from 1.8% the previous month. Analysts had expected consumer price inflation to fall to 1.6% last month.
The U.S. was to release the ADP nonfarm payrolls report, while the Institute of Supply Management was release a report on U.S. service sector activity.
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