Weak growth data weighed on European stock markets
London - AFP
Weak eurozone and Chinese data dragged down European stock markets on Thursday after the Federal Reserve warned over potential threats to US growth.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index shed 0.80 percent to stand at 6,643.24 points in afternoon trading.
The CAC 40 in Paris fell 1.39 percent compared with Wednesday's closing level to 4,206.79 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 lost 0.80 percent to 9,397.18.
In Thursday trade, the European single currency edged down to $1.2550 from $1.2551 late in New York on Wednesday.
"Stocks saw a mildly negative open after Chinese manufacturing PMI stalled at a six month low overnight," said Atif Latif, head of trading at Guardian Stockbrokers in London.
"Losses then accelerated as investors digested weak eurozone PMI figures," he said.
The FTSE's miners were meanwhile weighed down by the Chinese numbers, he added. Shares in Anglo American dropped 3.9 percent to 1,278 pence and Rio Tinto lost 2.7 percent to 2,827 pence.
Growth in the eurozone has slowed to its slowest pace in 16 months as new orders dipped, survey company Markit said Thursday, raising pressure on policymakers to crank up measures to support the economy.
Markit's flash November reading of its composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the eurozone came in at 51.4 points, down from 52.1 in October.
While manufacturing ticked up slightly, growth in the service sector slowed to its weakest reading since last December, said Markit.
Meanwhile preliminary figures from British banking giant HSBC indicated manufacturing activity in China was stagnant in November. Its PMI came in at 50.
Anything above that points to growth, and a figure below suggests contraction.Asian markets traded mixed on Thursday after the latest round of weak manufacturing data underlined the slowdown in China's economy, while minutes from the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting gave few hints about its plans for interest rates.
Further losses in the yen to multi-year lows against the dollar and euro were not enough to give a strong boost to Tokyo's Nikkei after this week's surprise news that Japan had slipped into recession.
Tokyo ended flat, Seoul fell 0.45 percent, and Sydney sank 0.98 percent.
Hong Kong lost 0.10 percent while Shanghai was flat.
Asian traders were given a tepid lead from Wall Street. Fed policymakers saw a potential threat to US growth from the global slowdown and a possible decrease in inflation at their last meeting, according to the minutes published on Wednesday.
But they also said the sharp fall in oil prices would likely bring relief to American households and boost overall consumption, supporting the economy.
US stocks dropped in opening trade Thursday following weak international economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.35 percent to 17,623.11 points after five minutes of trading.
The broad-based S&P 500 gave up 0.35 percent to 2,041.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.44 percent to 4,655.29.
In foreign exchange trading on Thursday, the euro eased to 79.91 British pence from 80.03 late on Wednesday in New York. The British pound gained to $1.5704 from $1.5681.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold dipped to $1,194 an ounce from $1,196 late on Wednesday.