- German factory orders fall
- Russia adds troops on Ukraine border
- Italian GDP shrinks
- Eurozone retail PMI drops
- US trade gap narrows
FTSE 100: -0.69%
CAC 40: -0.61%
FTSE MIB: -2.70%
IBEX 35: -1.04%
Stoxx 600: -0.87%
European stocks retreated on Wednesday amid growing concern about Ukraine and after a report showed German factory orders fell unexpectedly.
Russia's decision to boost its military presence along the border of Ukraine weighed on markets. Investors fear that Moscow will invade its neighbour to stop the Ukrainian military from fighting the pro-Russian separatists.
Also dragging stocks lower was a report from the Economy Ministry in Berlin that showed German factory orders dropped 3.2% in June from May when they fell a revised 1.6%. Economists had pencilled in a 0.9% increase.
"The factory orders report for June was consistent with our view that the economy is losing some steam in Germany," according to Barclays Research.
"The softening trend is unlikely to revert any time soon as confidence data, and in particular forward looking indicators, continue to suggest."
In Italy, second-quarter gross domestic product shrank 0.2% from the prior quarter after the Italian economy eased back 0.1% in the first three months of the year. The two consecutive quarters of declines meant the economy contracted.
Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for German construction activity rose to 48.2 from 45.5 in June. However it was under the 50 level that indicates expansion.
Separately, Markit showed retail activity in July declined in Germany and the Eurozone. The PMI for the retail industry in the Eurozone fell to 47.6 from 50 in June, signalling a contraction. In Germany it declined to 52.2 in July from 56.2 a month earlier.
UK industrial production climbed 1.2% year-on-year in June following a 2.3% gain in May, missing expectations for a 1.5% increase. Manufacturing output was 1.9% higher in June, compared to a 3.7% rise in May and forecasts for a 2.1% jump.
In the US, the Commerce Department said the US trade gap narrowed to $41.5bn in June from $44.7bn in May, beating the forecast for an increase to $44.9bn.
Capital Economics said the decline was likely to result in second-quarter gross domestic product growth being revised higher from the initial estimate of 4.0% annualised to about 4.2%.
Illiad, Swiss Re
Illiad tumbled after reports that T-Mobile US plan to reject the French company's $15bn bid to buy a controlling stake. Deutsche Telekom, which owns 67% of T-Mobile, slumped.
Swiss Re retreated after posting second-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts' estimates.
Standard Chartered was lower following reports the lender has held talks with New York's banking regulator to settle claims.
Ageas gained after the Belgian insurer reed to sell its UK unit Ageas Protect to American International Group.
Hannover Re declined after the German reinsurer posted a second-quarter operating profit that missed market forecasts.
The euro fell 0.16% to $1.3354.
Brent crude futures rose 0.37% to $105 per barrel, according to the ICE.