Investing.com - European stocks remained lower on Monday, despite the release of relatively positive manufacturing and services data from the euro zone, as a disappointing report out of China continued to weigh on market sentiment.
During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 retreated 0.80%, France’s CAC 40 declined 0.62%, while Germany’s DAX slid 0.62%.
The preliminary reading of the euro area’s composite purchasing manager’s index ticked down to a two-month low of 53.2 in March, only slightly lower than February’s 32-month highs of 53.3.
The euro zone’s manufacturing PMI edged down to 53.0 from 53.2 in February, in line with expectations, while the services PMI came in at 52.4, down slightly from 52.6 in February, compared to expectations for an unchanged reading.
But investors remained cautious as the preliminary reading of China’s HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to an eight-month low of 48.1 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 48.7.
Financial stocks turned broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PAR) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) tumbled 0.97% and 1.57%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) lost 1.19%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) declined 0.43% and 1.78% respectively, while BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) dropped 0.98% in Spain.
Elswehere, Nokia (NOKI.ST) declined 0.85% after the Finnish company, which hopes to complete the sale of its mobile-phone division to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), said the €5.44 billion transaction will be delayed until April as Asian regulators review it.
The companies had initially said that the sale would be completed by the end of March.
Adding to losses, KPN (KPN.AMS) plummeted 2.55% after Citigroup lowered the Dutch telecommunications operator to "neutral" from "buy".
In London, FTSE 100 slid 0.35%, weighed by Centrica (CNA.LSE), down 1.27%, after the Sunday Times reported that the U.K.’s six biggest utilities may be broken up this week.
Meanwhile, financial stocks remained mostly higher. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) edged up 0.07% and HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LSE) rose 0.24%, while Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) jumped 1.13%. Barclays (BARC.LSE) underperformed, declining 0.73%.
In the mining sector, stocks turned broadly lower. Vedanta Resources (VED.LSE) eased 0.06% and Polymetal (POLYP.LSE) dropped 0.88%, while Rio Tinto (RIO.LSE) and Randgold Resources (RRS.LSE) shed 0.56% and 0.88% respectively.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones futures pointed to a 0.11% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.17% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.23% increase.
Also Monday, data showed that Germany’s manufacturing PMI fell to a four-month low of 53.8 this month, from a final reading of 54.8 in February and below forecasts of 54.6. The country’s services PMI declined to 54.0, from 55.9 last month.
The French manufacturing PMI rose to 51.9 in March, from 49.7 last month, ahead of expectations for an uptick to 49.8. France’s services PMI rose to a 26-month high of 51.4 from 47.2 in February, well above forecasts for a reading of 47.5.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release preliminary data on manufacturing activity.
Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger: