European Stocks Slip on Signs of Global Weakness

LONDON (The Deal) -- It's been a morning of all-round weakness in European markets on Friday after Thursday's reversals on Wall Street. In part that's from a sense that dovish remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen -- and the possibility of further easing from the European Central Bank in June -- reflect real weakness in the major economies rather than offering another excuse to put money in equities. China, too, shows new signs of slowing.

But there have also been more tangible results to go on. Oil services group Petrofac slumped 15% to 1,179 pence after issuing a profit warning, and the plunge took rival European oil and mining support groups such as Norway's Seadrill, Italy's Saipem and France's Technip down with it.

There were weak performances in other sectors too. International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent of Spanish airline Iberia and British Airways, fell 2.74% to 393 pence, despite saying it had reduced losses at both airlines and forecasting a $2.2 billion profit for the year as a whole. Meanwhile in Paris, steelmaker ArcelorMittal (MT) lost 2.5% because of its rising debt pile, despite announcing narrowing losses and increased shipments for the first quarter.

Even the news out of the advertising industry failed to excite. French media giant Publicis fell a relatively modest 1.15% to 59.99 euros after the collapse of its $35 billion merger with Omnicom (OMC) of the U.S. And its big rival, WPP of London -- which now retains its title as the biggest beast in the sector -- rose only 0.7% to 1,286 pence.

In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.33% at 6,816, while in Paris, the CAC 40 fell 0.66% to 4,478. Frankfurt's DAX index was down 0.32% at 9,576. 

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