- Stocks move lower
- Capital flight in Russia may be worse than admitted by Moscow
- Weak Chinese CPI numbers, Wall Street lower overnight
- Banks and Technology lead retreat
FTSE 100: -0.33%
Dax 30: -0.34%
Cac 50: -0.57%
FTSE Mibtel 30: -1.21%
Ibex 35: -1.05%
Stoxx 600: -0.39%
European equity markets had moved firmly lower by midday Friday as traders took stock of the latest developments in the Ukraine region ahead of this weekend´s vote on independence in Donetsk.
Stocks rose sharply on Thursday after the European Central Bank all but pre-announced that it would move to ease monetary conditions in the single currency area further come its next meeting, in June.
Wall Street finished lower overnight and the latest Chinese consumer price data out in the morning printed well beneath analysts´ forecasts, although that may herald further policy accommodation from Beijing going forward.
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 will meet today on the Baltic coast. That meeting will take place against the backdrop of the current situation in Ukraine, with some observers describing recent conciliatory comments from Russia´s President as an attempt to "white-wash" its role in the current crisis.
In parallel, Vladimir Putin was on his first visit to Crimea.
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) .
Technology and Telecommunications lead declines
Telefonica reported a 14% drop in first quarter operating income before depreciation and amortisation to €3.93bn (consensus: €3.97bn).
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 (-0.94%), Technology (-0.81%), Telecommunications (-0.72%).
Euro below 1.38
Front month Brent crude futures were 0.516% higher at $108.6 per barrel on the ICE.
The single currency was down by 0.32% at 1.3790 versus the US dollar.