European stocks snapped a three-day winning streak on Wednesday, as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of central bank meetings tomorrow and the U.S. jobs report set to be released Friday. Trading volumes slipped due to the Independence Day holiday in the U.S.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is declining 0.45 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is losing 0.24 percent. Around Europe, Switzerland's SMI, the U.K.'s FTSE 100, the German DAX and France's CAC 40 are down between 0.14 percent and 0.48 percent.
Commodities such as copper and crude recouped some of their early losses, while the euro stayed weaker against the dollar and yen amid the release of eurozone retail sales data. Retail sales in eurozone increased unexpectedly in May, partly reversing previous month's decline, the latest figures from Eurostat showed.
Banks are pacing the decliners after the European Central Bank yesterday tightened the limit on the amount of government guaranteed debt that banks can use as collateral in return for loans.
German lenders Deutsche Bank and Commerezbank are down 1-2 percent, while French bank BNP Paribas is down 1.5 percent. Standard Chartered Plc is declining 0.7 percent in London after unveiling a strategy to grow its Islamic banking business in Malaysia and across its global footprint.
German chemical and pharmaceutical firm Bayer is moving down 0.55 percent after its CropScience agricultural unit signed a pact to acquire California-based peer AgraQuest Inc for $425 million plus milestone payments.
British telecom giant Vodafone Plc is moving up 0.9 percent. The company is in advanced talks with Hutchison Whampoa for a merger of the two companies' Irish telecoms infrastructure, the Financial Times reported.
Shares of Avia Health Informatics Plc plunged around 16.4 percent after the healthcare support software specialist reported a wider pre-tax loss for its fiscal year 2012 despite increased revenues.
In economic news, the service sector in the euro area contracted less than initially estimated in June, data from a survey by Markit Economics showed. The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the service sector came in at 47.1 in the month, up from 46.8 recorded in the preliminary estimates. The latest figure was also higher than May's reading of 46.7.
Elsewhere, Asian markets ended mostly higher on speculation of more stimulus measures from the Chinese and European central banks. The ECB and the Bank of England are scheduled to announce their policy decisions tomorrow and investors are seemingly banking on them to deliver further stimulus measures to help spur weak global growth. The Chinese and Hong Kong markets slipped marginally.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com