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Milan FTSE Mib closes down 0.72% at 19814.55 points

Europe shares close lower on China, earnings jitters. Nokia plunges, PSA Peugeot Citroen rallies

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Antonella Ciancio

America24, 26 gennaio 2014, 20:30

European stock prices closed lower, with some encouraging eurozone data unable to offset concerns about slowing growth in China and disappointing corporate earnings.

Stocks dropped after China's HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to a six-month low of 49.6, missing analyst expectations.

However, macroeconomic data from the eurozone pointed to an economic recovery in much of the region.
The flash reading of the euro zone's consumer confidence jumped to negative 11.7 in January from negative 13.5 in December, the European Commission said.

The euro area indicator has surpassed its long-term average of -13.3 for the first time since July 2011.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence in the EU also increased, climbing to negative 8.8 from negative 10.9 in December.
Also in January, the eurozone's manufacturing and services industries expanded faster than expected, while Germany's private sector grew at its fastest pace in almost three years on improving factory orders, and French business activity slipped at a slower pace than expected, albeit falling for a third straight month.

More in detail, the eurozone's purchasing manager' index for the manufacturing sector in January touched a 32-month high of 53.9 from 52.7 in December, according to preliminary data from global information provider Markit. A reading above 50 signals an expansion in activity while a reading below indicates a contraction.

Germany's purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector in January reached a 32-month high of 56.3 from 54.3 in December, according to Markit.

In France, where president Francois Hollande has yet to unveil details of his "responsibility pact" to turn around the economy, the purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector in December rose to a three-month high of 48.8 from 47.0 in December, while French business confidence index stood at 94 in January, unchanged from December, according to the statistics office Insee.

Also, Italy posted a trade surplus with non-EU countries of 3.4 billion euros in December, according to preliminary figures from statistics office Istat, bringing the surplus for the full year to 20.0 billion from just 0.8 billion in 2012.

Spain's GDP rose 0.3% in the fourth quarter compared with the previous quarter, according to estimates from the Bank of Spain, marking the second straight quarter of economic expansion, while unemployment stood at 26.03% in the fourth quarter, up from 25.98% in the third quarter, according to statistics office Ine.

Investors also looked at the U.S., as they await for the U.S. Federal Reserve to decide next week whether to further tighten its monetary stimulus.

U.S. unemployment claims rose modestly, showing an improvement in the job market, and both existing-home sales and the U.S. leading economic index rose in December from the previous month.
The London FTSE 100 closed down 0.78% at 6,773.28 points, the Frankfurt DAX fell 0.92% to 9,631.04 points, the Paris CAC 40 ended 1.02% lower at 4,280.96 points, in Milan the FTSE MIB lost 0.72% at 19814.55 points and in Madrid the IBEX 35 ended 0.37% lower at 10,241.20 points.

Among the top movers in Europe, shares in Finnish communications and information technology group Nokia plunged 10.41% to 5.12 euros after it posted lower fourth-quarter sales for its mobile business, which will soon be transferred to Microsoft.
In Paris dealings, French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën rallied 4.27% to 11.48 euros for a third consecutive day of gains, rebounding from losses on Monday on the announcement of its capital hike plan.

Also in the car sector, Italian carmaker Fiat climbed 2.63% to 7.62 euros amid analyst expectations of positive fourth-quarter results due next week.

Luxury retailers continued to be under pressure. In Paris stock dealings, French luxury giant LVMH dropped 1.95% to 125.45 euros. In Milan, Italian online fashion retailer Yoox fell 2.67% to 28.45 euros, Italian eyewear giant Luxottica declined 1.90% to 38.76 euros, and Tuscan luxury shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo slid 1.67% to 23.54 euros.

Banking stocks were weak in Italy, with Banco Popolare leading losses on the Milan benchmark index, closing down 2.67% at 1.53 euros, and UniCredit dropping 2.56% at 5.72 euros also in Milan.

French lenders however performed better than the main Paris index, with BNP Paribas losing 0.51% at 58.48 euros, Crédit Agricole gaining 0.49% at 10.19 euros, and Société Générale declining 0.34% to 44.48 euros.

In Brussels stock market dealings, shares in Belgian supermarket company Delhaize rallied 7.19% to 48.97 euros after the firm reported higher forth-quarter revenues and said that it will continue to cut costs in 2014.
In Frankfurt, shares in Allianz extended losses on the benchmark DAX index, following Tuesday's news of the departure of the chief executive of its Pimco asset management unit, Mohamed El-Erian.

Allianz closed down 2.71% at 127.40 euros.

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