LONDON (The Deal) -- European and most Asian stock indices fell on Thursday after minutes released from the Federal Reserve's last meeting reignited concerns about a reduction of the central bank's monthly bond-buying program.
The rate setters who gathered at the end of last month expected an "ongoing improvement" in U.S. labor market conditions, and noted that "asset purchases are not on a preset course."
Asian markets received an additional impetus to move lower with a preliminary November decline in a closely watched manufacturing index, while eurozone data from the same agency, Markit, pointed to a surprise slowdown in the services sector but a continued pickup in manufacturing.
In London, the FTSE slipped 0.194% to 6,671.85. In Frankfurt, the DAX fell 0.48% to 9,157.61. In Paris, the CAC 40 dropped 0.73% to 4,237.15. Computer services company Atos slipped more than 3% as shareholder PAI Paribas announced plans to sell a stake worth about 547.4 million euros ($734.9 million).
Advertising agency Publicis Groupe gained, as did M&C Saatchi in London after the British company said it may sell to its French peer its Walker Media buying division.
The Hang Seng closed down 0.51% at 23,580.29. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo bucked an almost exclusively falling trend and gained 1.92% to 15,365.60 as the yen weakened.