Investing.com - European stocks pushed sharply lower on Monday, as violence in Ukraine intensified and as downbeat Chinese manufacturing data continued to weigh on market sentiment
During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 lost 1.27%, France’s CAC 40 retreated 1.17%, while Germany’s DAX tumbled 1.48%.
Markets were jittery after clashes broke out in at six cities in eastern Ukraine over the weekend while pro-Russian forces overran a police station in Odessa, freeing close to 70 activists held there.
The events came after the death of 46 people on Friday, marking the bloodiest day since the ousting of Viktor Yanukovich from the Ukrainian presidency in February.
Elsewhere, data showed that China’s HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers’ index came in at 48.1, down from a preliminary estimate of 48.3 and missing forecasts for an uptick to 48.4.
Also Monday, the European Commission said it expects the region’s economy to continue to recover through 2015, but warned that persistently low levels of inflation and geopolitical tensions with Russia could threaten the recovery.
The EC said the euro zone’s economy will expand 1.2% this year, unchanged from its February forecast and grow 1.7% in 2015, down slightly from 1.8% previously.
The commission cut its forecast for euro zone inflation to 0.8% this year and 1.2% in 2015, down from 1.0% and 1.3% in February.
Financial stocks remained broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) plummeted 1.41% and 2%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) lost 2.10%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) declined 0.81% and 1.29% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) tumbled 1.08% and 1.46%.
Wacker Chemie (XETRA:WCHG) also remained on the downside, plunging 4.05%, after the German chemical maker reported earnings below market estimates.
Meanwhile, Swatch Group (SIX:UHR) retreated 0.74%, erasing earlier gains posted following reports the company took action against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) over its use of the iWatch label, considered to be too similar to the Swiss firm''s own iSwatch product.
In London, FTSE 100 remained closed for a national holiday.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.41% drop, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.40% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.45% loss.
Later in the day, the Institute of Supply Management was to publish a report on U.S. service sector activity.