- Eurozone PMIs miss forecasts
- IMF warns of financial issues in EMs
- Fed to continue tapering, minutes reveal
FTSE 100: -1.02%
CAC 40: -1.19%
FTSE MIB: -0.18%
IBEX 35: -0.90%
Stoxx 600: -0.07%
European stocks slid as weaker-than-expected manufacturing and services data in the Eurozone added to concerns of a stagnant recovery.
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for manufacturing in the euro-area slipped to 53 from 54 in January, while the services measure rose to 51.7 from 51.6, Markit Economics said today. Economists had predicted a reading of 54 for manufacturing and 51.9 for services.
However, it was still above the 50 level that signals expansion.
"February's Eurozone PMIs suggest that the region's recovery is struggling to gather pace," Capital Economics said.
The economist said the report puts pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to loosen its policy further.
ECB President Mario Draghi has said he will consider changing its policy at the March meeting following the release of more comprehensive data.
Policymakers today will be watching a report on Eurozone consumer confidence out at 15:00. The sentiment index is tipped to rise to -11 in February from -11.7 in January.
Markets have also reacted to a report on French inflation which showed consumer prices came in at 0.8% year-on-year in January, in line with the prior month but less than the 0.9% forecast.
Meanwhile, sentiment was dampened by the International Monetary Fund which warned of financial problems arising in emerging markets. The organisation said economies where inflation is still high, or where policy credibility has come into question, "need to continue tightening monetary policy in the context of strengthened policy frameworks".
In China, manufacturing PMI declined to 48.3 in February, from the prior month's 49.5. Analysts had pencilled in a reading of 49.5.
Fed minutes indicate continued tapering
Recent weak economic data wasn't enough to deter policymakers at the Federal Reserve from continuing to scale back stimulus, minutes from last month's meeting showed.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) agreed that labour market indicators showed a "gradual ongoing improvement" in conditions despite the lower-than-expected non-farm payrolls growth in December, which it said was partly due to the winter weather.
Policymakers voted at their two-day meeting on January 28-29th to taper the rate of monthly asset purchases by a further $10bn to $65bn, following on from the initial $10bn reduction to the programme made in December.
Turning to today's agenda, US inflation data will be the prime focus ahead of the Fed's March policy meeting.
US consumer prices are expected to have risen by 1.6% year-on-year in January, up from 1.5% a month earlier. On the month, they are tipped to fall to 0.1% growth from 0.3%.
Other notable releases in the US will be confidence data, continuing claims, initial jobless claims and Markit's preliminary reading for its manufacturing PMI.
BAE Systems, Banco Popolare
BAE Systems tumbled after warning that profits in 2014 could fall by up to 10% on the back of pressures on US government spending.
Banco Popolare was lower after S&P lowered its credit ratings on the Italian lender to BB- from B+.
Suez Environnement Co. gained after reporting that net debt declined in 2013.
Air France-KLM declined despite posting earnings that beat analysts' estimates.
The euro fell 0.28% to $1.3695.
Brent crude futures dipped $0.446 to $109.980 per barrel, according to data from the ICE.