European Stocks Trade Mixed as Confidence in Germany Drops

LONDON (The Deal) -- European stock markets were mixed as a drop in German business confidence stoked new concerns about the pace of economic recovery in Europe. Asian indices ended the trading session mixed.

In Germany, the DAX was down 0.16% at 9,579.32, while in London the FTSE 100 shed 0.23% to 6,660.47. France's CAC 40 moved in the opposite direction, adding 0.22% to 4,368.85. 

Clouds continue to cast a shadow over Europe's largest economy, as shown by a drop in the Munich-based Ifo institute's business climate index to its lowest level since April 2013. The figure, based on a survey of 7,000 business executives, fell to 104.7 points in September from 106.3 points in August, amid a drop in manufacturing, wholesaling and construction indices. 

"The German economy is no longer running smoothly," Ifo said in a statement. 

In Amsterdam, TNT Express  (TNTEY) slumped nearly 11% after the express delivery company said it's no longer expecting an adjusted operating margin of 8% for Europe and the Americas next year due to deteriorating conditions in Europe. 

TNT also said it is entering into a settlement with French Competition Authorities over its investigation into anti-competitive behavior in the French parcels delivery sector. To cover the potential costs of the settlement, the firm is making a provision of 50 million euros in the third quarter. The stock is 26% lower than a year ago. 

In Zurich, Adecco  (AHEXY) fell 3.69% to 63.95 Swiss francs after the Swiss staffing company said that the seasonal pickup so far in September has been "slightly weaker" than normal, mainly in Germany and France, citing recent softer economic data. However, it said that business is holding up well in North America and that it remains focused on reaching its Ebita margin targets of above 5.5% in 2015. 

In Madrid, Codere shed 12.33% to 0.64 euros, after announcing a€1.1 billion euros debt restructuring deal that will give bondholders control of the gaming company and stave off insolvency. 

Bucking the negative trend, German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA (MKGAY) rose 2.95% to 74.98 euros in Frankfurt following a 'buy' recommendation from Commerzbank AG. Earlier this week. the Darmstadt-based company unveiled a $17 billion deal to buy St. Louis, Mo.-based life sciences company Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL)  in its biggest-ever takeover. 

Metals and mining mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO)  rose 0.55% to 3,125 pence in London after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock to overweight. 

Later Wednesday, investors will be looking for good news out of Washington, where the U.S. Commerce Department is expected to release a report showing an August rebound in new-home sales after two straight monthly declines. Those figures are due out at 10 a.m. EDT. 

Asian markets were mixed. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 0.3% to 23,921.61 while in Japan the Nikkei lost 0.24% to 16,167.

 

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