- Syria concerns dampen market
- Euro-area GDP grows in Q2
- Eurozone services activity expands
FTSE 100: -0.63%
CAC 40: -0.95
FTSE MIB: -2.02%
IBEX 35: -0.77%
Stoxx 600: -0.53
The market expressed fresh concerns over Syria after US President Barack Obama gained backing from two Congress leaders for military action in the troubled country.
Speaker John A. Boehner and House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia said they would support the president's call for intervention in Syria, setting the stage for wider approval in Congress when they vote on September 9th.
Obama is trying to win over lawmakers in his proposal to chastise President Bashar al-Assad's government for the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians on August 21st.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, has warned the US and its allies against taking one-sided action in Syria, saying any military strike without United Nations approval would be an "aggression".
Possible legal repercussions from Syria's allies Russia and China is troubling investors, according to Spreadex Financial Trader, Shavaz Dhalla.
"Thus, investors should look out for any signs of volatility until at least the September 9th when the US congress reconvenes and the markets receive more information as to officials' intentions towards Syria," Dhalla added.
Eurozone data floods market
Second quarter gross domestic product in the euro area rose 0.3% from the previous quarter, in line with expectations, a Eurostat report said.
Separately, Eurostat said July's volume of retail trade in the euro area rose a modest 0.1% on the month, even as June's reading was revised downwards to a 0.7% fall. Analysts had expected month-on-month growth of 0.4%.
Eurozone services activity expanded in August, according to Markit. The purchasing managers' index (PMI) increased to 50.7 last month from 49.8 in July, below estimates for a final reading of 51 but above the 50 level that signals growth.
In the UK, Markit's Services PMI climbed to 60.5 last month from 60.2 in July, the highest level since December 2006, as new business growth reached a record high. Economists expected a reading of 59.
The data comes ahead of the Bank of England and the European Central Bank's interest rate decision announcements on Thursday. The central banks are expected to keep interest rates on hold.
US trade balance, Beige Book
The US trade balance will be released later Wednesday and is tipped to show the deficit came in at $38.6bn in July compared to $34.5bn a month earlier.
It will be followed by the Federal Reserve's Beige Book which comes ahead of the central bank's highly anticipated September 17th to 18th policy meeting.
The book, a report in which each Federal Reserve bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district, should provide some insight as to where policymakers feel America's financial state stands.
The Fed is expected to start reducing its $85bn per month in bond purchases at its meeting this month so long as the economy and unemployment improves.
Ryanair leads travel stocks lower
Ryanair fell to lead travel and leisure stocks lower after the budget carrier said full-year profit would be at the lower end of its forecast range of €570m to €600m.
easyJet also slipped along with an index of travel and leisure companies which dropped 2.5% on the Stoxx 600.
Iliad SA tumbled after the French mobile carrier's founder Xavier Niel sold a 3% stake valued at about €320m.
French bank Credit Agricole declined after saying it had begun the sale of its remaining 7.6% stake in Spain's Bankinter.
Telecom Italia dipped following reports core investors are seeking to sell their stakes, which could leave the Italy's largest telecom operator open to a takeover bid.
Brent crude slides
Brent crude futures were down $0.373 to $115.250 per barrel on the ICE.
The euro was up 0.02% to the 1.3172 US dollar.