• China’s Slowing Growth Leaves European Stocks Mixed

    LONDON, January 20, 2014 (AFP) – Europe’s main stock markets turned in a mixed, lacklustre performance on Monday with Wall Street closed for a holiday and China turning in disappointing growth data.

    London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day up 0.11 percent at 6,836.73 points, while Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slid 0.28 percent to 9,715.9 points and the CAC 40 in Paris dipped 0.11 percent to 4,322.86 points.

    Milan nudged up 0.02 percent, while Madrid gave up 0.11 percent.

    “European markets have continued where they left off at the end of last week drifting sideways, but with a slight downward bias in fairly listless trade in the absence of US markets” which were closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK.

    He said the upside was “capped due to a negative Asia session after Chinese economic data failed to inspire, while Deutsche Bank followed in the footsteps of some of its US peers last week by disappointing the markets, by releasing a profits warning over the weekend.”

    Markus Huber, senior analyst at brokers Peregrine & Black, said that “considering that markets have risen sharply in the past few weeks today’s disappointing news by Deutsche Bank and out of China might serve as a welcome excuse to take some profits and money off the table.”.

    China’s economy last year registered flat growth of 7.7 percent, maintaining its slowest expansion in more than a decade as the government warned Monday of “deep-rooted problems” including a mountain of local authority debt.

    “The latest Chinese economic data published this morning showed that real GDP growth slowed to 7.7 percent … though many policymakers, especially in the semi-depressed eurozone, would be over-joyed to have such growth rates,” noted Neil MacKinnon, economist at financial group VTB Capital.

    Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, slumped 5.4 percent to 37.21 euros after it announced late on Sunday a surprise net loss of 965 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2013 because of litigation costs and weakening revenues.

    The news dragged down other major banks in Europe, with Commerzbank dropping 4.5 percent to 12.94 euros, Barclays down 2.0 percent to 282.8 pence, Royal Bank of Scotland shedding 1.3 percent to 359 pence, Unicredit losing 1.3 percent to 5.91 euros and Societe Generale giving up 1.0 percent to 44.40 euros.

    Meanwhile, shares in troubled French carmaker Peugeot Citroen tumbled 11.1 percent to 10.21 euros after the company approved in principle a capital increase that will bring in Chinese automaker Dongfeng and the French state as major shareholders.

    The company also announced that global sales fell by 4.9 percent in 2013, to 2.82 million vehicles, on weakness in its main markets Europe and Russia, the third year in a row of falling sales.

    In France, the Altice group, the main shareholder in cable operator Numericable Group, said it would float on the Amsterdam market on January 31, valuing the business at 5.1-6.25 billion euros.

    In foreign exchange activity on Monday, the European single currency climbed to $1.3563 from $1.3535 late on Friday in New York.

    The euro edged up to 82.57 pence from 82.44 pence on Friday, while the pound rose to $1.6423 from $1.6414.

    Gold prices gained to $1,255.75 an ounce from $1,250 Friday on the London Bullion Market.

    On the European sovereign debt market, the yield on Ireland’s 10-year bonds fell to 3.272 percent in midday trading, nearly 20 basis points below the yield late on Friday of 3.44 percent, in response to a decision by ratings agency Moody’s to lift Ireland’s notation by one notch to “Baa3″.

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