German shares edged lower on Thursday after European officials delayed a decision on a crucial bailout for Greece.
Banks are tumbling, with CommerzBank down 3.3 percent and Deutsche Bank losing 2.6 percent, after Moody's Investors Service warned 17 banks and security firms with global capital markets operations of a possible downgrade, citing their weaker longer term profitability and growth prospects.
The benchmark German DAX is currently at 6,678, down 80 points or 1.2 percent from its previous close, while France's CAC 40 is declining 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is losing 0.8 percent and Switzerland's SMI is moving down 0.3 percent.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 1.2 percent while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is down 0.6 percent.
Among automakers, BMW is down 1.1 percent, Daimler is falling 1.7 percent and Volkswagen is down 1.4 percent. Europe's demand for new cars declined further in January, with new car registrations totaling 968,769 units in the month, down 7.1 percent from a year ago. the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said. The decline was bigger than December's 6.4 percent fall.
Deutsche Telekom is down 0.9 percent on a Bloomberg report that it is considering to pull out of the U.K. as the firm is trying to raise cash after a failed attempt to sell its T-Mobile USA unit.
Siemens is declining 1.2 percent. The engineering conglomerate announced that it has won a contract worth more than 1.1 billion euros in a consortium with Italy's Prysmian to build a submarine DC interconnector between England and Scotland.
On the macroeconomic front, German employment climbed to 41.6 million in the fourth quarter, reaching the highest level since the reunification of the country, the Federal Statistical Office said Thursday.
Separately, there was tentative signs of a stabilization in economic activity at a low level around the turn of the year, but the economic outlook remains subject to high uncertainty and downside risks, the European Central Bank said in its monthly bulletin.
Elsewhere, Asian shares fell across the board on Thursday as the wrangling over Greece's debt restructuring talks prompted investors to take some profits after recent gains.
Trading in the Dow futures point to a lower open. Investors await data on building permits and housing starts as well as reports on producer price inflation and unemployment claims for clues to economic outlook.
Commodities are losing ground and the euro fell to a three-week low against the dollar as fresh concerns about a 130-billion euro ($170 billion) bailout for Greece dampened risk sentiment.
by RTT Staff Writer
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