European Stocks Mixed on Worries Over Timing of U.S. Rate Hike

LONDON (The Deal) -- IPO fever is still burning among Europe's private-equity and venture capital firms, with France's Eurazeo planning a stock market debut in the fall for its hotel and restaurant laundry service company Elis which would raise about $900 million of new money to reduce debt, and German e-commerce start-up incubator Rocket Internet also planning to raise a little less than $1 billion.

But the markets just aren't partying. Eurazeo's stock actually fell on the announcement Tuesday, and is up only 0.27% Wednesday morning at 58.16 euros. United Internet, one of Rocket Internet's biggest investors, dropped 0.25% to 33.73 euros on Wednesday.

While the across-the-board falls in early trading were gradually reversed, so that by early morning in New York the FTSE 100 was up 0.21 at 6,843, the CAC 40 was flat at 4,454 and the DAX was down 0.04% at 9,706, there was little sign of enthusiasm. What's behind the gloom? Markets are worried that U.S. interest rates might rise faster than previously expected, with global repercussions for foreign investment flows. China's slowdown is still worrying the world, as is global geopolitical instability.

Then there's the Scottish independence referendum next week. What would be the effect on the pound, the U.K. economy, the financial services industry? What about the knock-on effects in Spain where the country's economic powerhouse, Catalonia, is hoping to follow the Scottish lead?

Spain was the source of more painful news Wednesday, with the death of Banco Santander (SAN) patriarch Emilio Botin. The global bank's share fell 1.38%.

In France, shares in the mobile payments business Ingenico fell 2.32% to 73.83 euros following Apple's   (AAPL) announcement Tuesday of a new payments business Apple Pay.

But in Italy, the appointment of Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne to replace Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was taken well, as was the appointment in the U.K. of Casorama CEO Veronique Laury to replace Ian Cheshire as CEO of the U.K. retail group Kingfisher. Kingfisher topped the leaderboard in London, up 2.7% at 315.5 pence.

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