LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stocks fell on Thursday as investors looked to U.S. retail sales figures out later Thursday for clues as to whether the Federal Reserve will opt to curtail bond buying at next week's meeting.
Analysts expected retail sales to have risen about 0.6% in November after a 0.4% increase in October. The report is due out at 8.30 a.m. in Washington, and together with initial jobless claims figures may influence the outcome of the Fed's Dec. 17-18 meeting.
Figures from the European Commission's statistics arm showed industrial output in the eurozone fell 1.1% month-on-month in October and were up 0.2% in the year. The figures aligned with disappointing output data from Germany on Monday, which showed that the hoped-for rebound from a weak September failed to materialize in October.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.52% at 6,474,18, while in Frankfurt the DAX ceded 0.37% for a reading of 9,043.20. In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.03% at 4,085.83.
In Paris, shares in carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen fell almost 9% after it said it would take a 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) charge in 2013 related to unfavorable exchange rate movements and cut its synergy estimate from an alliance with General Motors (GM) to $1.2 billion by 2018, down from $2 billion by 2016. Those savings would be spread between the two companies. Peugeot also confirmed talks about a potential joint venture with China's Dongfeng Motor, which would reportedly produce low-cost cars for the southeast Asian market, and said it is also considering a related capital increase.
In Helsinki, shares in utility Fortum were up almost 5% after it agreed to sell its Finnish power grid to a consortium including Canada's Borealis Infrastructure Management and an investment unit of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Fortum will book a 1.9 billion euros gain on the 2.55 billion euros sale, it said.
And in Amsterdam, cable company Ziggo jumped 8% after it confirmed its second round of takeover talks this year with near-30% shareholder Liberty Global (LBTYA). At the current price of 33.32 euros, Ziggo has a market value of about 6.7 billion euros. The Dutch company rejected an offer from Liberty Global in October, saying it was too low.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei closed down 1.12% at 15,341.82, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng dropped 0.51% to 23,218.12.