LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets were mixed Monday morning, with shares in London and Paris higher but Frankfurt lower following a slump in the automobile sector following Volskwagen's diesel exhaust cheating shame. Renewed worries over Greece's ability to pay its debts following Alexis Tsipras' unexpected election win and the continued flow of refugees hoping to win asylum in Germany also damped enthusiasm.
A fall in German manufacturing factory gate prices in August for the 25th month in a row did nothing to bolster confidence. The producer price index slipped a worse-than-expected 0.5% compared with July.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.53% at 6,136.50, while in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.93% at 4,577.91. In Frankfurt, the DAX was off 0.53% at 9,863.96. In Athens, after an early surge, the General Index was down 0.42% at 694.63.
Volkswagen crashed by more than 20% to €128 by late morning Frankfurt time, while rivals Bayerische Motoren Werke, better known as BMW, skidded 3.83% to €82.64 and Daimler was down by the same amount at €69.75.
Meanwhile in Switzerland, Zurich Insurance Group (ZURVY) fell 1.14% to Sfr259.10 after abandoning its £5.6 billion ($8.7 billion) bid for British insurer RSA Insurance Group (RSAIF) . Zurich blamed the massive losses it faces as a result of last month's devastating explosions at a container terminal in Tianjin, China, which it estimated at $275 million. It also announced that its recently appointed CEO of General Insurance, Kristof Terryn would now be conducting a general review of the business and the company would focus on taking whatever actions were needed to improve performance there.
Zurich's shock defection knocked a hefty 21% off the price of RSA -- which fell to 407.1 pence. The British insurer attempted to reassure shareholders by pointing out that the problems had not arisen from any issues found in its own books. It said Zurich's approach had been unsolicited - and RSA was making good progress in the delivery of its own improvement plans. RSA believes it has a further as a standalone company.
Also in London, satellite communications group Inmarsat (IMASF) was up 2.18% at 1,010.0 pence on the announcement of a joint venture with Deutsche Telekom to provide in flight high-speed internet access to European air passengers. German airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG will be the first to trial the service next year, but eventually the plan is to roll it out across all European routes. Deutsche Telekom was up 1.24% at €15.88.
In Asia, Tokyo closed down 1.96% at 18,070.21 while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng finished the day down 21,756.93. Australia's ASX index dropped 2.02% to close at 5,066.25. But in China, the Shanghai Composite was up 1.89% at 3,156.54 and the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite finished up 3.55% at 1,738.643.