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The Deal: European, Asian Stocks Slip on Weak China Manufacturing Data

LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stocks failed to lift themselves out of a temporary morass on Thursday as better-than-expected eurozone manufacturing data contrasted with disappointing figures from China.

Research group Markit's eurozone composite Purchasing Managers' Index climbed to 53.2 in January, up from 52.1 the month before and well above forecasts. Meanwhile, in China, the same institute, in conjunction with HSBC Bank, suggested manufacturing declined in January, with its Purchasing Managers' Index entering negative territory by falling below the 50 threshold.

In London, the FTSE was down 0.07% at 6,821.31. In Frankfurt, the DAX slipped 0.11% to 9,709.50 and the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.19% at 4,333.21, as Markit manufacturing figures for the stuttering French economy were better than feared.

In London, Pearson (PSO) stock fell sharply after the company issued a profit warning. The company is best known as the publisher of the Financial Times but for several years has been reinvented itself as a global provider of educational services. It said it experienced tough market conditions in 2013, especially in its  North American and U.K. educational assessment and publishing operations, and will step up restructuring efforts in anticipation of a challenging year ahead.

And in Hong Kong, PC maker Lenovo Group shares were suspended ahead of its announcement that it had struck a $2.3 billion deal to buy the low-cost server unit of Armonk, N.Y.-based International Business Machines (IBM). The price countered speculation that IBM may demand as much as $6 billion for the business but still makes the transaction the biggest ever in the Chinese IT sector, assuming it passes muster with U.S. regulators.

In Hong Kong, the  Hang Seng closed down 1.51% at 22,733.90 in the wake of the weak manufacturing data, and in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 fell 0.79% to 15,695.89.

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