Investing.com - European stocks remained mostly lower on Monday, following the release of a string of euro zone manufacturing data, while markets focused on political coalition negociations in Germany.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 slipped 0.19%, France's CAC 40 inched up 0.05%, while Germany's DAX 30 eased 0.09%.
Markets were jittery after data showed that the preliminary reading of the euro zone manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 51.1 in September from a final reading of 51.4 in August. Analysts had expected the index to inch up to 51.8.
However, the euro zone services PMI rose to 52.1, the highest level since June 2011, from 50.7 in August and above expectations for a reading of 51.1.
Germany's manufacturing PMI fell to 51.3 in September from a final reading of 51.8 in August, compared to expectations for an improvement to 52.2, while the services PMI rose to a seven month high of 54.4 from a reading of 52.8 in August. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 53.1
Separately, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party won general elections on Sunday, securing her a historic third term in office. Political party leaders were due to meet later Monday to discuss coalition talks.
Financial stocks were mixed, as BNP Paribas climbed 0.81% and Societe Generale retreated 0.74% in France, while Germany's Deutsche Bank inched up 0.03%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander slipped 0.10% and 0.20% respectively, while Italy's Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo rallied 0.99% and 1.24%.
Elsewhere, Fugro NV plunged 3.70% after the deepwater-oilfield surveyor named Paul Verhagen as its chief financial officer and forecast sales of EUR3.7 billion in 2016.
In London, FTSE 100 fell 0.36%, weighed by sharp losses in financial stocks.
Shares in Lloyds Banking retreated 1.04% and Barclays tumbled 1.97%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland declined 0.82%. HSBC Holdings overperformed on the other hand, gaining 0.53%.
Mining stocks also remained on the downside, as Glencore Xstrata declined 0.83% and Evraz plummeted 2.49%, while Randgold Resources and Polymetal plunged 2.92% and 5.58%.
Adding to losses, National Grid plummeted 1.66% after UBS downgraded the operator of energy networks' shares to "neutral" from "buy".
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones
Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.17% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.19% gain, while the Nasdaq
100 futures indicated a 0.33% increase.
Investors also remained cautious amid political tensions in Italy after Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said he will resign if the fragile coalition government favors tax cuts over European Union deficit spending limits.
Later in the day, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was to testify about the economy before the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, in Brussels.
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