European Stocks Slip Ahead of ECB Meeting

LONDON ( The Deal) -- European markets retreated further on Thursday as investors digested weaker-than-expected German industrial production and another spate of corporate earnings ahead of the European Central Bank monetary policy meeting.

In London, the FTSE 100 shed 0.23% to 6,620.87, while in Germany the DAX lost 0.08% to 9,122.36. In France, the CAC 40 shaved 0.29% to 4,194.94.

Earlier in the day, Germany's Economics Ministry said that industrial output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% from May to June. That was well below the 1.2% monthly gain that had been expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

The latest figures from Europe's largest economy come hours before the European Central Bank is expected to hold interest rates steady. Investors will also be looking to the post-policy meeting press conference by ECB President Mario Draghi for any comments on the eurozone's economy and inflation outlook.

Escalating tensions over Ukraine also continue to weigh on global markets, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a one-year ban on food imports from all countries that have imposed or supported sanctions against his country.

In Germany, Munich Re fell 2.26% to 3.49 euros after posting a lower-than-expected second-quarter profit of 765 million euros, amid rising claims costs; the latter includes 180 million euros related to a severe February snowstorm in Japan, not paid until the second quarter because of late claims reports.

Adidas was also down after cutting its 2014 profit forecast, citing continued weakness in the golf market and recent developments in Russia. The company is now projecting operating profit to amount to 5.6% to 7% of sales, compared to a previous forecast of 8.5% to 9% of sales. Adidas shares fell 2.63% to 56.62 euros.

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