- Tech stocks drag on market
- Inflation data out in China, Germany and Spain
- Russian-Ukraine tensions continue to escalate
- US producer prices and consumer confidence rises
FTSE 100: -1.21%
CAC 40: -1.08%
FTSE MIB: -1.07%
IBEX 35: -1.37%
Stoxx 600: -1.40%
European stocks ended the week lower as technology stocks tumbled following heavy falls on the Nasdaq Composite the previous session.
The Nasdaq dropped 3.1% yesterday, led by a technology sell-off amid valuation concerns.
A gauge of technology stocks posted the worst performance on the Stoxx 600 today as investors continued to rotate out of so-called 'momentum' stocks - high-growth names in the technology sectors, particularly - which have done well over recent months.
ARM Holdings and Infineon Technologies were among the biggest fallers.
Inflation in Germany, Spain and China
German consumer prices rose by 0.9% year-on-year last month in European harmonised terms, the first time they have dropped under 1% in June 2010. On the month, prices increased 0.3%. The figures were in line with forecasts.
In Spain, revised figures showed inflation decreased 0.1% year-on-year in March, compared to the initial estimate of a 0.2% decline. Prices rose by 0.2% month-on-month after staying flat a month earlier.
The European Central Bank (ECB), which is targeting inflation of just below 2%, has faced mounting pressure to tackle falling inflation in the euro-area.
The ECB is expected to ease policy in June, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists released yesterday.
In China, inflation rose 2.4% year-on-year following a 2% increase in February. However, consensus had forecast an increase of 2.5%. On a monthly basis, consumer prices in the world's second largest economy dropped 0.5% from the prior month, in line with consensus. In February inflation had risen by 0.5% on the month.
It fuelled concerns of a slowdown in China and followed weak trade figures, slower credit issuance and big declines in property sales.
Ukraine said today it would turn to Europe for its gas supply as the turmoil between the nation and Russia escalated.
Russia warned it could cut supplies over Kiev's refusal to pay Moscow's "political, uneconomic price" for natural gas supplies.
Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said there would be possible additional sanctions during talks with his Russian counterpart, Anton Siluanov.
According to NATO, Russian military units deployed in more than 100 makeshift bases just across the Ukraine border are in a state of high readiness.
The annual rise in US producer prices picked up to 1.4% in March from 0.9% in February, compared with the 1.2% gain expected. Paul Dales, Senior US Economist at Capital Economics, said that this "could mark the start of a gradual upward trend that would eventually filter through into higher consumer price inflation".
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan consumer confidence index jumped to 82.6 in April from 80 last month, ahead of the 81 consensus forecast.
Travel stocks fall
A gauge of travel and leisure companies slid on the Stoxx 600, including International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), after a statement from Heathrow Airport Holdings showed the number of passengers passing through the UK airport fell by 2.8% in March from a year earlier.
Bauer AG slumped after the construction group posted a 2013 net loss of €19.4m, compared with a profit of €25.8m year earlier.
German steelmaker Salzgitter AG rallied after Citigroup upgraded the shares
to 'buy' from 'neutral', citing construction-related demand in Europe.
Firstgroup declined after Nomura Holdings downgraded the bus-and-rail operator to 'neutral' from 'buy', citing increased costs and poor weather in the US in the first quarter.
Thales retreated after JPMorgan Chase downgraded the French defence-electronics maker to 'neutral' from 'overweight' following weaker-than-expected forecasts for sales and cost reduction through 2017-18.
Givaudan edged lower as comparable sales at its flavour division rose 5.8% in the first quarter, missing the 6.5% increase estimated by analysts.
Mediaset Espana slipped as it was suspended for the first hour of trading after Credit Suisse Group AG sold a 3.7% stake in the Spanish media company on behalf of Promotora de Informaciones SA.
The euro rose 0.06% to $1.3895.
Brent crude futures increased $0.241 to $107.720 per barrel, according to the ICE.