LONDON (The Deal) -- European stock indices declined on Thursday, taking their cue from a weak day of trading in Asia and heavy falls on Wall Street on Wednesday following disappointing economic data and alarm about an Ebola diagnosis in the U.S.
Germany's largest IPO in seven years, Rocket Internet, fell on its debut after the Internet incubator priced shares at the top of the range. Sister company Zalando, which Rocket founded in 2008, tumbled below its IPO price on its second day of trading.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.46% at 6,527.12. In Frankfurt the DAX gave up 0.46% to 9,339.34 and in Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.52% to 4,34276.
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The European Central Bank meets Thursday to set rates and will give its decision at 7:45 a.m. EDT, followed by a press conference. Economists expect rates to remain unchanged -- the bank cut the benchmark rate to 0.05% a month ago -- but investors are watching eagerly for more information on its asset-buying program.
In the U.S., initial jobless claims are seen likely to have risen slightly in the week ended Sept. 26, while August factory orders are predicted to have declined sharply month on month.
Rocket Internet shares were trading by late morning down 4.2% at 40.71 euros, having priced at 42.50 euros and earlier fallen as low as 38 euros. The listing followed Wednesday's debut by Zalando, which priced at 21.50 euros. Zalando shares traded on Thursday at 19.93 euros, down 7.3%.
Clothing group Hugo Boss (BOSSY) gained almost 1% after Jefferies International initiated coverage with a buy recommendation. The analysts predicted Boss's womenswear sales will double in the next three years, noting that there is a gap in the "premium to luxury workwear /daywear" end of the women's clothing market.
In the U.K.. Richard Branson and Wilbur Ross-backed Virgin Money Holdings (UK) fired the starting gun on its London IPO. The company will sell about 150 million pounds ($242.5 million) of new shares plus existing stock held by backers including Ross vehicle WL Ross & Co. The retail lender expects to start life as a public company with a free float of 25%.
In the Netherlands, Philips (PHG) - Get Report fell after losing a patent infringement suit in the U.S. brought by Masimo Corp. and being hit with a demand for $467 million in compensation. Philips CEO Frans van Houten said the company "will pursue all avenues of appeal" against the jury verdict.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 plummeted 2.61% to 15,661.99 as an investor flight to the yen clouded the outlook for exporters. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 1.28% at 22,932.98.
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