European Stocks Slip Amid Subdued Growth Picture

LONDON (The Deal) -- European stocks edged lower on Tuesday after mixed day of trading in Asia as eurozone economic data confirmed a picture of subdued growth.

In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.34% at 6,840.42. U.K. house price data from Nationwide Building Society showed that prices in May rose 11.1% year-on-year, the fastest pace in seven years, though the report noted signs that growth is beginning to moderate.

In Frankfurt, the DAX dropped 0.19% to 9,930.90, and in Paris the CAC 40 was down 0.11% at 4,510.70. European indices are close to their highest point in well over five years.

The annual pace of consumer price growth in May slowed to 0.5% from 0.7%, figures from the European Commission's statistics arm showed, defying expectations for a stable inflation rate. Meanwhile, the eurozone employment rate dropped to 11.7%, just below the consensus forecast for an unchanged 11.8% rate. The European Central Bank meets on Thursday to set rates and ECB President Mario Draghi has indicated he's ready to act to spur growth.

Earlier in the day, a closely watched measure of Chinese factory output rose slightly less than expected in May but supported the perception that Chinese growth is accelerating.

HSBC Holdings plc/Markit Economics' Purchasing Mangers' index rose to 49.4, which was a four-month high but missed a consensus forecast for a reading of 49.7, compared with 48.1 in April.

From the U.S., May factory order data, out at 9 a.m. EDT, is likely to sway the course of afternoon trading in Europe, with economists looking for a month-on-month increase of 0.5%.

In London, plumbing and heating products distributor Wolseley led the gainers on the FTSE 100, rising well over 2% after reporting 5.1% revenue growth in the third-quarter from continuing operations to 3.05 billion pounds ($5.1 billion) and a 9.1% rise in trading profit to 155 million pounds.

But shareholders in FTSE 250 water utility Pennon Group took profits and pushed the stock down almost 3% even after the company announced above-forecast full-year results.

In Paris, hospitals operator Generale de Sante jumped more than 4% on a report in French daily Figaro of a "white-knight" counter bid to an offer from Australia's Ramsay Health Care and the assurance unit of French lender Credit Agricole that values the target's equity at 946 million euros ($1.3 billion)

Advertising giant Publicis Groupe, which last month abandoned a $35 billion merger with Omnicom Group, fell almost 3% after the shares went ex-dividend.

In Hong Kong, gaming companies including Galaxy Entertainment fell sharply after disappointing May data on the casino revenue in Macau, the only place in Greater China were gambling is legal.

The Hang Seng closed up 0.91% at 23,291.04.

The Nikkei 225 gained 0.66% to 15,034.25 as the yen fell. Tokyo Electric Power rose more than 6%. Bloomberg reported the power company was contemplating buying in liquefied natural gas from the West Coast of America, which would reduce toll fees and shipping times.

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