LONDON (TheDeal) -- European markets fell on Friday, following another selloff in Asia, as investors remained largely unmoved by relatively upbeat data on the eurozone manufacturing and services sectors.
Markit Economics's purchasing managers' indices for both sectors both came in ahead of forecast in August, with the manufacturing index static and the services index rising from July, according to Markit's preliminary estimates. The composite index also rose to a forecast-beating 54.1 from 53.9 as a strong showing from Germany offset weakness in France.
But the data wasn't enough to ease continued concern that volatility and economic weakness in China will upset global growth. This was fueled by corresponding purchasing managers' indices from China earlier in the day, where the general manufacturing index unexpectedly fell to 47.1 in August, a 77-month low.
Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned, setting the stage for general elections within the next 30 days. The move was seen as an attempt to quash a rebellion within Tsipras' own Syriza party against Greece's newly agreed €86 billion ($96.9 billion) bailout. However, a group of rebels within his own party later said they will form a new political party. The European Central Bank late on Thursday confirmed that Greece made a €3.2 billion repayment to the central bank.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.52% at 6,334.91, well down from its high of just over 7,000 in April. In Frankfurt, the DAX slipped 0.03% to 10,429.25, and in Paris, the CAC 40 dropped by 0.24% to 4,771.99. The Athens benchmark fell 0.67% to 647.22.
Hospitals operatorSpire Healthcare tumbled almost 13% in London after it warned of "some near-term weakness in NHS demand" over the rest of the financial year in a first-half results bulletin. The cooling demand is because of to the U.K. public health service's efforts to reduce its deficit, Spire said.
CPPGroup (CPGPY) , which provides assistance to consumers on behalf of insurers, surged by over a third after new CEO Stephen Callaghan said 2016 profit would probably be "materially higher" than market expectations. The company recently completed a debt restructuring.
Leading U.K. pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) - Get Report was down in London and Novartis (NVS) - Get Report declined in Zurich after the companies, which earlier this year swapped billions of dollars in assets in three interconnected deals, said the Swiss company would pay up to $1 billion for rights to ofatumumab for autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis. Novartis already has the rights to the drug to treat cancer.
Insurer RSA Insurance edged lower in London amid dwindling expectations of a takeover offer by Switzerland's Zurich Insurance (ZURVY) by next Tuesday's deadline. The suitor has reportedly hired Evercore Partners alongside Morgan Stanley for advice amid little progress in the discussions, the Financial Times reported.
In Paris, French payment systems company Ingenico (INGIY) was down 3%, marking its third consecutive session of losses.
Almost all Asian indices slumped on Friday.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 fell 2.89% to 19,435.83, and the Topix fell 3.13% to 1,573.01, despite strong manufacturing purchasing managers' data from Markit Economics/Nikkei. At 51.9 the index rose to a seven-month high, fueling hopes that a contraction in Japanese GDP last quarter was a blip.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 1.53% at 22,409.62. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite closed down 4.27% at 3,507.74.
Tata Motors (TTM) - Get Report closed down 3.1% in Mumbai after the company warned that last week's fatal explosion at a factory in Tianjin, China, had affected access to up to 5,800 of its Jaguar Land Rover vehicles shipped through the city's port.