Investing.com - Manufacturing activity in France held steady in March, while services sector activity weakened to a 49-month low, preliminary data showed on Thursday.
In a report, market research group Markit said that its preliminary French manufacturing purchasing managers' index held steady at a seasonally adjusted 43.9 in March, unchanged from February's reading.
Analysts had expected the index to rise to 44.3 in March.
A reading above 50.0 on the index indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.
Meanwhile, the report showed that service sector activity in France fell to a 49-month low of 41.9 in March from a final reading of 43.7 in February. Analysts had expected the index to ease up to 44.0.
Commenting on the report, Jack Kennedy, Senior Economist at Markit said, "The latest Flash PMI data spell further bad news for the French economy."
Following the release of the data, the euro remained lower against the U.S. dollar, with EUR/USD falling 0.07% to trade at 1.2926.
Meanwhile, European stock markets were lower after the open. The EURO STOXX 50 declined 0.3%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.4%, London's FTSE 100 dipped 0.1%, while Germany's DAX slumped 0.2%.
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