LONDON (The Deal) -- European stocks fell on Tuesday and Asian indices were mixed as China's central bank mopped up liquidity from the market and a German index of investor confidence fell sharply.
China's central bank sold 48 billion renminbi ($7.9 billion) of repurchase contracts to counter falling money market rates, weighing on mainland Chinese indices. In Germany, the Zew institute's index of investors' and analysts' economic sentiment fell to 55.7 in February, down from 61.7 the month before and defying forecasts of a broadly stable index reading.
In London, the FTSE was little changed at 6,736.07 by mid-morning as the Office for National Statistics said inflation unexpectedly fell below the Bank of England's own 2% target to 1.9% in January. The pound slipped against the dollar as the news appeared to push back the date when the British central bank will finally lift rates from their historic low 0.5%.
In Frankfurt, the DAX edged down 0.10% to 9.646.89, with carmakers Bayerische Motoren Werke and Volkswagen falling on investor confidence worries. In Paris, the CAC 40 tumbled 0.49% to 4,313.93.In London, BHP Billiton (BHP) rose after posting half-year results that beat expectations. The world's largest mining company said productivity gains helped push underlying profit up 31% to $7.8 billion. On the Berlin exchange, the world's No. 2 maker of generics drugs, Actavis, of Dublin, recovered from earlier losses on reports that it is about to announce a $25 billion agreement to buy Forest Laboratories (FRX) of New York. In Hong Kong, Brightoil Petroleum Holdings closed up 27% after announcing that it will buy oil and gas assets in China's Bohai Bay from Anadarko Petroleum (APC) for $1.08 billion. The transaction reflects Brightoil's diversification into exploration and production from energy services such as storage and transportation. In Tokyo, the Nikkei closed up 3.13% at 14,842.24, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng gained 0.23% to close at 22,587.72. Mainland indices in Shanghai and Shenzhen all fell.