LONDON ( The Deal) -- European stocks were lower on Wednesday amid unwelcome news of slowing inflation in Europe and investor jitters over Russia.

In London the FTSE 100 was down 0.46% at 6,302.75, while the DAX shed 0.41% in Frankfurt. France's CAC 40 was also in the red, losing 0.19% to 4,085.57.

The continent-wide selloff followed a report showing that euro-area inflation was 0.3% in November, down from 0.4% in October, while the November inflation rate in the 28-nation EU was 0.4%, down from 0.5% the previous month. Eurostat, the EU's statistical arm, released the figures.


Continued uncertainty over Russia's fast-deteriorating economic crisis also weighed on markets, with Moscow's Micex Index down about 0.96% by early afternoon local time. But the Athens Stock Exchange General Index was up 2.63%, recovering from Tuesday's fall before parliamentary elections get under way this evening.

A number of negative corporate surprises dragged down individual stocks.

In Amsterdam, Royal Philips  (PHG) slipped 2.56% after unveiling an agreement to buy San Diego-based Volcano (VOLC) for $1.2 billion to boost sales growth in the $5 billion image-guided therapy market. The acquisition will be Philips' priciest since its $4.62 billion takeover of Respironics in 2008.

Belgian drugmaker UCB  (UCBJY) retreated 0.87% in Brussels amid the collapse of its $1.53 billion agreed sale of Princeton, N.J.-based generics maker Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals to buyout shops Advent International Corp. and Avista Capital Partners.

The Brussels-based seller still plans to divest the business, which reportedly attracted interest from other private-equity suitors and Lake Forest,, Ill.-based Akorn (AKRX) , in the cancelled auction.

In Lisbon, Banco BPI slumped 6%. It announced last Tuesday that it will take part in the first bidding round for Novo Banco, the "good bank" carved out of Banco Espirito Santo.

In Madrid, Spanish engineering-to-construction conglomerate Acciona  (ACXIF) fell 0.63% amid a media report that the company's A$5.3 billion ($4.3 billion) contract to build a tunnel in Madrid could be called off by the new state government.

Bucking the negative trend, LVMH Moët Hennessy  (LVMUY) gained 1.88% in Paris after distributing its 23% stake in Hermes International to its shareholders. Christian Dior  (CHDRY) also rose, advancing 2.3%, after distributing Hermes shares, while Hermes gained 6.10%.

Asian stocks had a mixed day, with the Nikkei gaining 0.38% to 16,820 in Tokyo and the Hang Seng shedding 0.37% to 22,585.84.

Later Wednesday, all eyes will be on the U.S., where the Federal Open Market Committee is due to wrap up a two-day meeting.

 

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