LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets were all in negative territory Friday, with investors still showing their disappointment with the less aggressive than expected cut in European Central Bank interest rates announced on Thursday, and the subsequent strengthening of the euro.
European equities were following similar falls in the U.S. and Asia overnight. There's also some hesitancy ahead of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due Friday afternoon European time. If the figures are as good as expected, there's a strong chance the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its December meeting, analysts said.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.41% at 6,248.99, while in Frankfurt the DAX was off 0.64% at 10,720.53, unchanged by the government winning a parliamentary vote to send warplanes into Syria. In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.69% at 4,697.72.
The U.K. government said Friday it will continue selling down its stake Lloyds Banking Group(LYG) - Get Report beyond the end of the year, allowing the designated manager of its so-called trading plan, Morgan Stanley & Co. International, to continue "a measured and orderly sell-down," of the shares. The government has so far sold 11.2 billion shares in the bank it was forced to rescue during the financial crisis and still owns 6.6 billion shares or 9% of the capital. U.K. Financial Investments, which is managing the government's banking shares, said the sales will now continue until June 2016, although they could finish earlier to ensure enough shares remain for the government's promised retail offering, which is scheduled for launch in the spring. Lloyds' shares were up 0.38% at 73.28 pence.
Pub company J.D. Wetherspoon slipped 0.28% to 734.0 pence on news the company suffered a hacking attack during the summer, affecting more than 650,000 customers who signed up for use of its free WiFi when on the premises. It said the hacked database contained dates of birth, email addresses and phone numbers and some credit and debit card information, though full card numbers are routinely edited and not kept in the database. The database is no longer active and has been replaced.
Housebuilder Berkeley Group Holdings topped the London leader-board Friday morning, up 6.2% to 3,560 pence, after raising its dividend despite 3.8 % fall in pretax profits for six months to October, because adjusted profits without ground rent sales up 10.2% to £242 million ($366 million).
New data show scandal-hit German auto maker Volkswagen's (VLKAF) U.K. sales slumped another 20% in November, year-on-year, after falling 9.8% in October. But the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said other manufacturers, including Ford and General Motors' Vauxhall brand -- as well as rival German marques -- are racing ahead. Overall U.K. car sales rose 4% in November. However, VW shares, which are traded in Germany, not London, were up 1.43% at €138.65.
Finnish telecoms equipment company Nokia(NOK) - Get Report said after the local market closed on Thursday, local time that it expects the €2.5 billion ($2.7 billion) sale of its HERE mapping services to a consortium of German automakers to close Friday, instead of in the first quarter of 2016 as previously predicted. Nokia shares slipped sharply in early trading, but had recovered somewhat by midday local time to €6.8, down 0.88% on Thursday's close.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed down 2.18% at 19,504.48, while the Topix dropped 1.8% to 1,574.02. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng finished the day down 0.81% at 22,235.89, and in China the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 closed down 1.91% at 3,677.59.