European stocks were lower on Tuesday, as speculation the Federal Reserve could soon begin tapering its monthly asset purchases continued to weigh on equity markets.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.24%, France’s CAC 40 declined 0.60%, while Germany’s DAX 30 eased 0.03%.
Speculation over the future of the Fed''s stimulus program persisted after the Institute for Supply Management said Monday that manufacturing activity in the U.S. expanded at the fastest rate since April 2011 in November, fuelling optimism over the economic recovery.
The ISM manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 57.3 in November from 56.4 in October. Analysts had expected the index to fall to 55.0.
In the euro zone, official data earlier showed that the number of unemployed people in Spain declined by 2,500 in November, confounding expectations for an increase of 44,300, after a 87,000 climb the previous month.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale declined 0.67% and 0.31%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank slipped 0.23%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander eased 0.01% and 0.08% respectively. Italy''s Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo overperformed on the other hand, up 0.33% and 0.65%.
Elsewhere, ThyssenKrupp edged down 0.14% after raising EUR882.3 million through a share sale.
Adding to losses, Sonova Holding plummeted 2.15% as Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the Swiss hearing-aid maker to "equal weight" from "overweight".
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 fell 0.17%, weighed by sharp losses in mining stocks.
Shares in Glencore Xsrata tumbled 1.54% and Fresnillo plummeted 2.04%, while rivals Vedanta Resources and Antofogasta lost 2.42% and 3.20% respectively.
Meanwhile, financial stocks were mostly lower. The Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 0.21% and HSBC Holdings dropped 0.52%, while Barclays retreated 1.31%. Lloyds Banking overperformed however, up 0.27%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.06% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.02% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.02% rise.
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