The German market is declining in afternoon trading Wednesday, as unimpressive economic data and lingering concerns about Greece killed risk appetite.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is retreating 0.64 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is losing 0.74 percent.
After opening slightly higher, the DAX index soon fell into negative territory and is currently falling 0.84 percent.
Lufthansa is falling about 2 percent, thus leading the decliners, as a strike in Frankfurt continued.
Barclays raised RWE to "Equalweight" from "Underweight." The stock is down 1 percent.
Berenberg Bank lowered its rating on Bayer to "Hold" from "Buy." The stock is falling 1.1 percent.
Commerzbank is dropping 1.7 percent and Deutsche Bank is receding 0.2 percent.
Merck, Fresenius and Siemens are in positive territory.
Aareal Bank is declining 6.2 percent. Deutsche Bank cut the stock to "Hold" from "Buy."
Rhoen-Klinikum is gaining 1.9 percent after Credit Suisse initiated the hospital operator with an "Outperform" rating.
Draegerwerk is gaining 4.2 percent. HSBC raised the stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral."
Elsewhere in Europe, the French CAC 40 is losing 0.57 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is falling 0.34 percent. Switzerland's SMI is declining 0.77 percent.
In economic news, Germany's private sector activity logged growth in February, but the rate of expansion slowed from January, data from Markit Economics revealed. The flash composite output index came in at 52.9, down from 53.9 in January. The Purchasing Managers' Index for the manufacturing sector fell unexpectedly to 50.1 from 51 a month ago.
Separate data revealed that Eurozone private sector contracted in February, following the marginal expansion seen in January. The composite output index fell to 49.7 in February from 50.4 in January. Economists expected the score to remain almost steady at 50.5.
Data from a survey by Conference Board showed that France's leading economic index increased from the previous month in December.
Across Asia/Pacific, major markets ended in the green. China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.93 percent after data showed that the nation's manufacturing activity improved in February despite remaining in negative territory.
Australia's All Ordinaries gained 0.09 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.33 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed about 1 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a slightly lower open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the Dow rose 0.12 percent and the S&P 500 ticked up 0.07 points, while the Nasdaq was flat.
In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is sliding $0.38 to $105.87 per barrel and April gold is falling $1.8 to $1756.7 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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