LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets opened in muted style Monday, taking their lead from Asia's underwhelming response to Chinese efforts to boost flagging growth with an interest rate cut.
The People's Bank of China cut its benchmark interest rate last week by 25 basis points to 4.35%, and lowered its reserve requirement ratio, which dictates the level of deposits banks must hold in reserve, by 50 basis points to 17.5% for the largest lenders.
Asian markets met the Chinese intervention with a metaphoric shrug of the shoulders that was reflected in Europe. London's FTSE 100 fell in early trading to 6422.99, down 0.33%. In Frankfurt, the DAX hovered around its Friday close of 10794.76, while Paris's CAC 40 shed 0.4% to slip to 4904.05.
The aimless markets were given little further direction by Monday's major European data, after German business confidence figures proved a mixed bag. The Ifo Business Climate Index for German industry and trade, considered one of the most accurate indicators of German business activity and sentiment, dipped to 108.2 in October, down from 108.5 last month. At the same time Ifo's expectations index, which tracks German business confidence, rose to 130.8, from 103.3.
"One should not interpret too much in a single confidence indicator but today's Ifo reading suggests that the German business community is filing the Volkswagen (VLKAF) scandal as a one-off and also shrugs off the risk from a possible Chinese and emerging markets slowdown," noted ING Groep NV's Carsten Brzeski.
In London, Aberdeen Asset Management (ABDNF) was among the FTSE 100's strongest gainers, rising as much as 7.2% in early trading before falling back to plus 4%. The move followed a Financial Times report on Sunday that Aberdeen's CEO and founder Martin Gilbert was pondering a sale of the business and had been in contact with rivals in recent months. Aberdeen denied the story.
At the other end of the market, TalkTalk Group (TKTCY) was London's worst performer, falling 7.3%, as a weekend of investigations into last week's cyber attack failed to establish how many of TalkTalk's 4 million customers had data stolen.
Shares in London-listed, French white goods retailer Darty (KESAF) was down 3.75% after would-be buyer Groupe Fnac gave more details of an all-share £534.8 million ($810.1 million) bid and revealed it had yet to secure the support of a majority of its target's shareholders. France-based Fnac said Monday that a combination with Darty would deliver a minimum €85 million of cost savings and that its offer had received firm commitments from the holders of 23.6% of Darty. Fnac has until the end of Oct. 28 to make a firm offer.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.65% to 18947.12, after hitting two-month highs during Monday's session. Panasonic and Hitachi led the way, posting gains of more than 6% on expectations that profits for 2017 will be strong than previously expected.
The Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% to 3429.58, while the tech-heavy Shenzen Composite was up 0.68% to 2030.48. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.15% lower to 23116.25.
-- Written by Paul Whitfield