- Donetsk to vote on independence Sunday
- Irish 10-year bond yields drop below those on Gilts
- Capital flight in Russia may be worse than admitted by Moscow
- Banks and Technology lead retreat
FTSE 100: -0.36%
Dax 30: -0.27%
Cac 50: -0.66%
FTSE Mibtel 30: -1.56%
Ibex 35: -0.92%
Stoxx 600: -0.30%
European equity markets finished the session moderately lower, as investors booked profits following Thursday´s large rise, with traders keeping a close eye on developments in Ukraine ahead of this next Sunday´s independence vote in the Donetsk region.
Late in the afternoon Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that 20 pro-Russian militants had been killed in fighting in the southeastern city of Mariupol after they stormed a police station.
Worth noting, Irish 10-year bond yields moved below those on Gilts of the same maturity at one point in the session, having reached an intra-day low of 2.65%, although by the end of trading they were at 2.68%.
The Wall Street Journal cited US lawmakers as last night having explained that when they talk of "sectoral sanctions" against Russian industries they are in fact referring to very targeted measures. In parallel, The Daily Telegraph referenced data from the ECB showing that capital flight out of the Russian Federation may be four times more than admitted to by the Kremlin, possibly complicating the ECB´s task.
For its part, Moscow was now asking Ukraine to pre-pay for June natural gas shipments.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Francois Hollande were due to meet on the Baltic coast on Friday. That meeting was to take place against the backdrop of the current situation, with some observers describing recent conciliatory comments from Russia´s President as an attempt to "white-wash" its role in the current crisis.
Weak industrial production in the Netherlands
Dutch industrial production contracted at a 3.8% month-on-month pace in March (consensus: -0.8%).
Germany´s trade surplus increased in March to €16.4bn, from €16.2bn in the month before (consensus: €17.4bn).
Banks and Technology lead declines
Telefonica reported a 14% drop in first quarter operating income before depreciation and amortisation to €3.93bn (consensus: €3.97bn).
Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe dropped plans for their $35bn merger.
Belgacom unveiled first quarter operating profits of €412m, falling slightly shy of analysts´ projections.
Arcelor Mittal shares
were slipping 3% after the steelmaker published its latest quarterly results.
Stock in wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems rallied after revealing a 17% increase in revenue.
From a sector stand-point, the worst performance was to be seen in the following industrial groups within the DJ Stoxx 600: Banks (-1.2%), Technology (-0.92%) and Oil (-0.67%).
Euro below 1.38
Front month Brent crude futures were off by 0.05% higher at $107.99 per barrel on the ICE.
The single currency was down by 0.50% at 1.3766 versus the US dollar.