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European Markets Mixed Ahead Of Jobs Data

5/4/2012 7:34 AM ET

The European markets are mixed, some of them erasing previous losses, ahead of the key jobs data from the U.S. Sentiment was also influenced by some earnings news. The Asian markets fell after the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the inflation and growth outlook for the economy.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is adding 0.31 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is gaining 0.01 percent.

The German DAX is losing 0.23 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is falling 0.43 percent. The French CAC 40 is adding 0.15 percent and Switzerland's SMI is up 0.29 percent.

In Frankfurt, E.ON is declining the most by shedding 5.6 percent.

HeidelbergCement is losing about 3 percent.

Volkswagen is losing 2.5 percent, MAN is retreating 2.2 percent and BMW is falling 1.85 percent. Daimler is moderately lower.

Linde posted a higher first-quarter profit, helped by improved demand for gases worldwide. The firm also confirmed its short-term and medium-term outlook. Meanwhile, WestLB cut the stock to "Neutral" from "Add." The shares are losing about 2 percent.

Barclays cut Merck KGaA to "Underweight" from "Equalweight." The stock is falling 1.6 percent.

Societe Generale raised Beiersdorf to "Buy" from "Hold." The stock is flat.

MunichRe is gaining 1.1 percent. Deutsche Bank is rising 0.4 percent while Commerzbank is falling 0.2 percent.

In Paris, insurer Axa is plunging 8.2 percent, thus leading the decliners. Media giant Vivendi is retreating 6.3 percent. EADS is falling 3 percent.

Renault and Peugeot are losing 3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

BNP Paribas is up 0.5 percent after reporting higher first-quarter profit, benefited by a capital gain related to the sale of its stake in Klépierre SA. Societe Generale and Credit Agricole are moderately higher.

Veolia Environnement is climbing 3.5 percent. France Telecom is adding 1.7 percent.

Lafarge is rising 2.4 percent. The cement giant reported higher EBITDA for the first quarter, even as net loss widened owing to restructuring costs.

Air France - KLM reported a slightly wider loss for the first quarter as fuel costs surged from last year. The stock is marginally up.

In London, Anglo American is losing 2.5 percent and Antofagasta is declining 4.2 percent. BHP Billiton is falling 2.1 percent and Kazakhmys is retreating 4 percent.

Royal Bank of Scotland reported a wider loss for its first quarter, mainly reflecting charges on credit adjustments. The lender said it continued on the recovery path. The stock is up 2.7 percent. Lloyds Banking is gaining about 2 percent.

UBS removed Novartis from and raised AstraZeneca to 'Key Call List." AstraZeneca is up 1 percent and Novartis is rising 0.8 percent.

Swiss Re is gaining 2.2 percent in Zurich after turning to a profit in the first quarter.

Clariant is up 1 percent. The stock was raised to "Neutral" from "Underweight" at HSBC.

In economic news, Germany's services sector grew less-than-expected in April, final data from a Markit Economics/BME survey revealed.

Eurozone retail sales volume climbed 0.3 percent month-on-month in March, offsetting February's 0.2 percent drop, Eurostat said. Economists were expecting sales to remain flat in March.

Meanwhile, final data released by Markit showed that Eurozone private sector activity declined in April at the fastest rate since October 2011.

The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the inflation and growth outlook for the economy amid softness in labor market, moderate wage growth and a weak property market. All Ordinaries index lost 0.78 percent.

In China, a survey by Markit Economics showed that service sector growth accelerated to a six-month high in April amid further rise in new orders. Shanghai Composite Index added half a percent.

The U.S. futures indicate a higher open on Wall Street ahead of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report. Economists currently expect the report to show an increase of about 165,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 8.2 percent.

In the previous session, the major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but still ended the day firmly in the red. The Dow fell 0.5 percent, the Nasdaq dropped 1.2 percent and the S&P 500 slid 0.8 percent.

In the commodity space, crude for June delivery is losing $1.33 to $101.21 per barrel and June gold is losing $1.7 to $1633.1 a troy ounce.

by RTT Staff Writer

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