- US imposes new sanctions on Russia
- US jobless claims fall more than forecast
- US housing starts drop
- Eurozone inflation unchanged
FTSE 100: -0.68%
CAC 40: -1.21%
FTSE MIB: -2.21%
IBEX 35: -1.17%
Stoxx 600: -0.94%
European stocks fell as Russia was hit by fresh sanctions over the Ukraine turmoil.
US President Barack Obama has imposed new sanctions on key parts of the Russian energy and financial industry, including oil producers Rosneft, Novatek and bank Gazprombank in a bid to curb the Ukraine crisis.
European Union leaders meeting in Brussels agreed to blacklist companies and halt lending to public-sector projects in Russia.
"The pull back in the markets is only likely to be temporary though, given the size of the sell-off that we've seen in response to the sanctions," said Craig Erlam, analyst at Alpari. "This is hardly a major development, it's simply a case of a tad more risk being priced in. In fact, we could see these losses reversed as early as today, with plenty of data being released from the US this afternoon."
The final reading for the Eurozone consumer price index (CPI) remained unchanged, showing that inflation rose in June by just 0.5% from the same month last year. On an annual basis, it rose by 0.8% in June.
The ECB's target is for an increase in prices of just below 2%. The Eurozone monetary authority took a variety of unprecedented measures at its June 5th meeting to stop risks of deflation and attempt to ramp up the access to credit and help sustain the region's economic recovery.
In the US, figures showed that housing starts in June slid 9.3% after a 7.3% dip the month earlier, missing the forecast for a 1.9% increase.
On a more positive note, US initial jobless claims dropped by 3,000 to a nine-week low of 302,000 in the week to July 12th, better than the 310,000 expected by analysts, following a 305,000 reading the previous week.
The data comes a day after Federal Janet Yellen wrapped up her two-day testimony in Washington where she voiced concerns over the number of unemployed Americans.
Novartis slumped as the drugmaker reported quarterly earnings that fell short of analysts' expectations.
Sandvik dropped as the maker of metal-cutting tools posted second-quarter operating profit that missed forecasts.
ITV advanced after Liberty Global bought a minority stake in the UK commercial broadcaster.
SAP gained after the largest maker of business-management software reported second quarter revenue that exceeded analysts' projections.
Banco Espirito Santo edged lower after S&P cut its rating to B- from B and kept its outlook negative, highlighting its vulnerability to the financial problems of Espirito Santo Financial Group, which owns 20% of the bank.
The euro rose 0.01% to $1.3526.
Brent crude futures climbed 0.344% to $107.54 per barrel, according to the ICE.