LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stocks fell Wednesday, in some cases retreating from five-year highs, on concern about tighter credit conditions in China and stalling U.S. growth following Tuesday's weaker-than-expected nonfarm payrolls data.
In London, the FTSE was down about 0.36% at 6,671.32.
Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) lost 1.8% on concern about third-quarter sales in China. But Royal Mail rose another 10 pence to 509 pence - that's 54% more than its Oct. 11 IPO price. The emergence of hedge Children's Investment Fund Management (UK) LLP as a near-6% shareholder both vindicated its surging price and spurred expectations the activist investor may seek to shake up the restructuring company even further.
In Frankfurt, the Dax was down 0.37% at 8,914.46, while the CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.59% at 4,270.21. France's Orange lost almost 5% after third-quarter earnings fell 7.7% as sales fell. Cut-price competition from wireless services upstart Iliad is part of its problem. Orange also said it may sell a minority stake in its U.K. wireless joint venture, EE Ltd., through an IPO some time next year. Its joint venture partner is Deutsche Telekom.
Closely watched data on European consumer confidence is due out later Wednesday
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 1.36% at 22,999.95, on concern that China's central bank may tighten the supply of cash after a report showed house prices jumped the most in nearly three years.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was down 1.95% at 14,426.05 as the yen rose, making life harder for exporters.
Over in Seoul, Samsung Electronics ceded 0.9%. Late Tuesday, Corning (GLW) in New York said it would buy out Samsung's 43% stake in their liquid crystal display joint venture in a deal which will give Samsung an eventual 7.4% stake in the maker of scratch-proof Gorilla Glass. For Samsung, the deal reflects its desire to gain greater control over the components it needs to make its cellphones and other mobile devices.