- Ukraine diplomacy talks in Geneva begin
- European car sales rise
- France unveils spending cuts
- Fed committed to monetary accommodation, says Yellen
FTSE 100: -0.08%
CAC 40: -0.21%
FTSE MIB: -0.49%
IBEX 35: -0.57%
Stoxx 600: -0.25%
slumped as the US, European Union and Russia met in Geneva to begin talks on easing tensions between Kiev and Moscow.
The meeting will be the biggest diplomatic effort to address the crisis since Moscow annexed the Crimea region and placed tens of thousands of troops on the border.
It comes after three pro-Russian protesters were killed in a clash last night with Ukrainian authorities at a military installation in the southeast of the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin today accused the Kiev government of committing "a serious crime" by sending in troops to Ukraine's east to remove Russian separatists.
Europe car sales, French spending cuts
European car sales rose by 10% to 1.49m vehicles in March, led by a 18% gain in the UK to reach 464,824 vehicles, according to the European Automobile Manufacturer's Association today.
Demand for vehicles has risen as consumer confidence improves in Europe and the sovereign-debt crisis regresses in Greece, Portugal and Spain.
In France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls yesterday revealed plans to save €50bn between 2015 and 2017 by cutting back on spending, including on welfare benefits - a politically sensitive area.
"Although France's short-term outlook remains weak, the new French Government's recent policy announcements provide hope that France is slowly tackling its significant competitiveness problems," Capital Economics said.
In the US yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is committed to maintaining an appropriate level of monetary accommodation to support the country's economic recovery.
Today in the US will be the release of the initial jobless claims report which is expected to come in at 315,000 for the week ended April 12th, compared to 300,000 claims a week earlier.
Beverage stocks slide
Remy Cointreau slipped after the maker of Remy Martin cognac said that adjusted operating profit probably declined by 35% to 40% in the financial year ended March.
Diageo retreated after the world's biggest distiller said sales, excluding acquisitions and currency swings, fell 1.3% in the third quarter of its financial year, missing analysts' estimates for an increase of 1.8 percent.
SAP AG declined after Germany's biggest technology company reported quarterly sales and earnings that missed analysts' estimates.
Actelion advanced after the bio-pharmaceutical company said it may review its earnings forecasts after reporting better-than-estimated quarterly profits.
Thomas Cook gained after Standard & Poor's raised its outlook on the tour operator from 'stable' to 'positive', citing the progress in its transformation strategy.
The euro rose 0.29% to $1.3856.
Brent crude futures increased $0.009 to $109.610 per barrel, according to the ICE.