LONDON ( The Deal) -- European markets were mixed Monday, as better purchasing manager index figures from China and some parts of Europe balanced poorer PMI outcomes in eurozone heavyweights Germany and France.
China's official PMI, an indicator of the health of large industrial companies, came in at 50.8 in May, the highest reading in 2014. The news helped mining stocks, such as Anglo American, Glencore and Rio Tinto (RIO), which were among the main risers on the London market, and led to speculation that the worst of the Chinese slowdown may now be behind us.
But in Europe, the Markit indices showed a mixed picture. The U.K., outside the eurozone, maintained most of its momentum, coming in at 57.0 in May, just a fraction below April's level, while in the eurozone weaker figures for Germany and France suggested a modest slowdown for the single currency area. But in Italy and, especially Spain, the PMI picture was positive. Spain's PMI hit a four-year high, at 52.7 and Madrid's IBEX35 index stayed in positive territory, even after the announcement that King Juan Carlos has decided to abdicate in favor of his son Crown Prince Felipe. The king has recently lost much of the public support he won for anchoring democracy in his country as it emerged from dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.26% at 6,863, while in Paris, the CAC40 was down 0.05% at 4,517. Germany's DAX, which has been flirting with the psychologically important 10,000 threshold, was up 0.16% at 9,959.In Paris, French bank BNP Paribas continued its fall as the row continues over reports that U.S. prosecutors are seeking $10 billion fines for alleged sanctions busting. The bank was down 1.32% at 50.69 euros a share. But listed private-equity firm Eurazeo rose 0.63% on reports it is considering an IPO of Elis, a supplier of clean towels and linens to hotels and restaurants, for about $4 billion. Meanwhile in Brussels, Belgian supermarket Delhaize Group rose 0.46% on the announcement that it has completed a deal -- first announced last year -- to sell U.S. chains Sweetbuy, Harveys and Reid's to Bi-Lo Holdings for $245 million and a separate deal to sell distribution center in Plant City, Fla., to C&S Wholesale Grocers for $28 million. And in the mid-caps, Peppa Pig distributor Entertainment One fell slightly after announcing an agreement to buy fellow Canadian firm Phase 4 for C$27 million. Entertainment One, which is listed in London, said the deal would provide scale and growth opportunities in the U.S.