- Eurozone manufacturing and services PMI drop
- China manufacturing activity falls
- Crimea turmoil escalates
FTSE 100: -0.30%
CAC 40: -0.53%
FTSE MIB: -0.21%
IBEX 35: -0.48%
Stoxx 600: -0.47%
European stocks dipped after preliminary reports for Eurozone manufacturing and services activity in March registered declines.
Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for Eurozone manufacturing this month dropped to 53 from 53.2 in February, in line with analysts' expectations. A reading above 50 signals expansion.
Services PMI came in at 52.6 in March, in line with the previous month and with forecasts.
In China, a preliminary report on PMI manufacturing in March dropped to 48.1 from 48.5 in February. Economists had pencilled in a figure of 49.7. It marked the fifth consecutive fall, fuelling concerns over a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.
"Today's weak PMI reading is the latest sign that slowing credit and investment growth are weighing on domestic demand," said Capital Economics.
"That said, with no sign of stress in the labour market, the slowdown does not yet appear to warrant a significant stimulus response."
Tensions in Crimea have threatened to hurt German trade in Russia as the European Union (EU) accelerated sanctions.
Volkswagen AG, Siemens AG, and HeidelbergCement AG are among the foreign investors in Russia, which has signed a treaty annexing Crimea from Ukraine.
Last Friday the EU increased the number of visa bans and asset freezes to 51 individuals in response to Crimea re-joining Russia.
This morning the crisis escalated as Russian troops used stun grenades to force their way into a Ukrainian marine base in Crimea, Ukrainian officials said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coordinator for relations with Russia told Bloomberg News last week that harsh sanctions would be counterproductive and unlikely to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his mind.
Centrica and SSE slumped following reports the UK's six biggest utilities may be split this week when energy regulator Ofgem calls in the competition watchdog.
Royal KPN declined after Citigroup lowered the Dutch telecommunications operator to 'neutral' from 'buy'.
Czech utility CEZ AS advanced after the nation's finance minister said the government is seeking a 100% dividend payout.
Nokia Oyj dropped after saying the sale of its mobile phone division to Microsoft Corp. will be delayed by a month until April as Asian regulators review the deal.
The euro rose 0.04% to $1.3799.
Brent crude futures fell $0.310 to $106.590 per barrel, according to the ICE.