The French market is firmly in negative territory in afternoon trading Monday, ahead of a European Union summit starting later this week. The Asian markets ended lower as growth worries continued.
A two-day meeting of European Union leaders is starting in Brussels Thursday, which may discuss specific steps to ease the stress in Spain's banking sector. Greece's new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, recovering from an eye surgery, will be unable to attend the summit owing to health issues.
Meanwhile, investment guru George Soros said in an interview with Bloomberg that drastic measures need to be taken at the summit, or else the euro currency may cease to exist. He called on Europe to purchase bonds issued by Italy and Spain, adding that a European Fiscal Authority needs to be set up to purchase the debt of those countries implementing possible budget cuts.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is declining 1.85 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.92 percent.
The CAC 40 index opened lower and is currently declining 1.66 percent.
BNP Paribas is declining 4 percent. Societe Generale is dropping 3.5 percent and Credit Agricole is losing 2.9 percent. Insurer Axa is falling 3.6 percent.
Peugeot and Renault are retreating 3.7 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.
Barclays initiated Loreal with an "Overweight" rating. The stock is falling 1.1 percent.
UBS removed Danone from 'Most Preferred List." Shares of the dairy giant are declining 1.8 percent.
Technip, which announced a contract win, is losing 0.5 percent.
Bucking the downtrend, EADS is climbing 1.9 percent.
Elsewhere in Europe, the German DAX is declining 1.60 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 is dropping 0.72 percent. Switzerland's SMI is falling 0.84 percent.
Across Asia/Pacific, major markets ended lower. Australia's All Ordinaries and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped around 0.5 percent each. China's Shanghai Composite Index retreated 1.6 percent, and Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent.
In the U.S., futures point to a lower open on Wall Street. In the previous session, the major averages pulled back off their highs going into the close but still ended the day firmly in positive territory, benefiting from bargain-hunting. The Dow rose 0.5 percent, the Nasdaq jumped 1.2 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.7 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for August delivery is sliding $0.74 at $79.02 per barrel while August gold is gaining $3.3 to $1570.2 a troy ounce.
by RTT Staff Writer
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