The French market is marginally higher in afternoon trading Thursday, amid concerns about the UK's credit rating. The Asian markets ended mixed as new signs emerged of slowing growth in China. The U.S. index futures are higher ahead of the jobless claims and manufacturing survey results due to be released later in the day.
Fitch Ratings downgraded the UK's credit rating outlook to 'negative' from 'stable', citing the economy's vulnerability to adverse economic shocks due to high indebtedness and weak economic outlook.
The revision reflects "the very limited fiscal space to absorb further adverse economic shocks in light of such elevated debt levels and a potentially weaker than currently forecast economic recovery," the agency said.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.15 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is sliding 0.12 percent.
The CAC 40 index is currently gaining 0.05 percent.
STMicroelectronics is climbing 3.8 percent and ArcelorMittal is advancing 2.1 percent.
Schneider Electric and Axa are notably higher.
BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole are moderately up, while Societe Generale is in negative territory.
Pernod-Ricard is declining 2.7 percent and Alcatel Lucent is falling 1.7 percent.
Renault is losing 1.4 percent and Peugeot is sliding 0.8 percent.
Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is adding 0.21 percent and Switzerland's SMI is up 0.13 percent. The UK's FTSE 100 is losing 0.09 percent.
In economic news, the Swiss National Bank decided to maintain its three-month Libor rate close to zero as expected and said it would continue to enforce the minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss francs per euro.
Eurostat said the number of employed persons in Eurozone fell 0.2 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter, the same rate of decline as seen in the third quarter. Hourly labor costs rose 2.8 percent year-on-year in the quarter, picking up from the 2.6 percent increase in the third quarter, the statistical office said.
In China, data from the Commerce Ministry showed that the nation attracted $7.7 billion in foreign direct investment in February, down 0.9 percent from last year. This marked the fourth consecutive fall in investment inflows. In January, FDI fell 0.3 percent year-on-year to $9.997 billion. Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.73 percent.
Among other markets in Asia/Pacific, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 0.72 percent. Australia's All Ordinaries slid 0.20 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a higher open on Wall Street. In the previous session, afetr a substantial rally on Tuesday, the major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line, eventually ending the session mixed. While the S&P 500 edged down 0.1 percent, the Dow rose 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq crept up less than 0.1 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for April delivery is adding $0.03 to $105.46 per barrel and gold is rising $1.1 to $1644.0 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org