- European stock market were lower after the open on Thursday, after the Federal Reserve announced plans to further taper stimulus and following the release of disappointing Chinese manufacturing data.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.25%, France’s CAC 40 shed 0.15%, while Germany’s DAX 30 declined 0.1%.

Elsewhere, Spain’s IBEX 35 dipped 0.3% and Italy’s FTSE MIB index inched down 0.1%, while in London, the FTSE 100 edged down 0.25%.

The Fed said Wednesday that it would reduce its monthly bond buying program by USD10 billion to a total of USD65 billion a month, in a widely anticipated decision.

The central bank left unchanged its statement that interest rates are likely to remain low even after the unemployment rate drops below 6.5%, the threshold at which the central bank has previously said it would start to consider rate increases.

Data confirming a contraction in China’s manufacturing sector also weighed. China’s final HSBC Purchasing Managers Index released earlier fell to a six-month low of 49.5 in January from a preliminary reading of 49.6 and down from 50.5 in December.

Market players continued to monitor liquidity conditions in emerging markets, such as Turkey and South Africa. Emerging markets economies have been hard hit in recent sessions by worries over the impact of cuts in Fed stimulus and concerns over a possible slowdown in China.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale fell 1% and 0.9%, while Italy’s Unicredit and Spain’s Banco Santander slumped 1.2% apiece.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, U.S. equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.3% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.3% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a rise of 0.6%.

Nasdaq futures were boosted after Facebook reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings after Wednesday’s closing bell. The stock was up 10% in pre-market trade.

The U.S. is to publish preliminary data on fourth quarter economic growth. The nation is also to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims and data on pending home sales.

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