- Threat of new elections looms over Italy
- Chinese data weighs on basic resource sector
- Italian and Spanish bond yields diverge modestly
FTSE Mibtel 30: -0.85%
Ibex 35: 0.72%
Stoxx 600: -0.04%
European stocks recovered moderately in the second half of the session to end the day on a 'mixed' footing.
That came after earlier falls as investors reacted to the weak economic statistics out overnight in China. The official service sector purchasing manager's index for the month of February slid to a reading of 54.5 points, from 56.2 in the month before. As well, authorities in Beijing announced new measures to cool property prices.
Furthermore, market participants were waiting on the results of tonight's meeting of Eurozone finance ministers. The assembled ministers are expected to decide on whether or not to grant financial aid to Cyprus. As well, various periphery countries, such as Portugal and Spain, are asking for their adjustment programmes to be made more flexible.
Also to be had in account, and as regards Cyprus, over the weekend European Commissioner Olli Rehn argued in Der Spiegel against a 'bail-in' of Cypriot banks.
Helping stocks to recover were dovish comments from the Vice-Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, in support of the current pace of quantitative easing.
Lastly, the leader of Italy's Socialists - Pier Luigi Bersani - raised the spectre of new elections unless his main political rivals act responsibly, Sky24TG reported, in reference to Beppe Grillo's 5 Star movement. However, Mr. Grillo is adamant that he will not join any coalition. That may lead Bersani to call for new elections, but by law those cannot take place until the end of June at the soonest. While some observers believe this is all 'part and parcel' of Italian politics the current situation is a far cry from what markets had been hoping for before the elections.
Repsol sells stake
Repsol sold a 5% stake to Singapore's state holding company Temasek.
Shares of sea freight forwarder Kuehne&Nagel fell after the company reported lower than expected full-year profits.
French markets regulator AMF is proposing to toughen the rules for those companies wishing to carry out hostile takeovers, according to business daily Les Echos.
From a sector stand-point the worst performance on the DJ Stoxx 600 is now to be seen in the following industrial groups: Basic resources (-2.11%), Banks (-0.92%) and Automobiles (-0.81%).
Spanish unemployment rose by less than forecast
Eurozone prices increased by 0.6% month-on-month in January (Consensus: 0.5%).
Spanish unemployment worsened by 59.400 in February, well below the 132,100 rise seen last month and the 75,000 gain expected by economists.
The Sentix index of Eurozone investor confidence fell to -10.6 points in March from -3.9 in the month before (Consensus: -4.3).
Euro teetering on 1.30 level
The euro/dollar is now basically flat, down by 0.10%, at the 1.3010 dollar
Front month Brent crude futures are now lower by 0.501 dollars to the 109.84 dollar per barrel level on the ICE.