European Stocks Drop as Greece Debt Talks Get Serious; Inflation Rises

LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stock markets declined Tuesday on Greek debt worries even as better-than-expected eurozone consumer price data suggested a government bond-buying program by the bloc's central bank has chased away the specter of a prolonged period of Japanese-style deflation.

Late morning comments by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras helped indices pare losses as he declared that he had made "a comprehensive proposal" to Greece's international creditors about a solution to the debt impasse. The comments followed a hastily convened crisis summit on Monday night attended by the leaders of the International Monetary Fund, France, Germany, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

Meanwhile, inflation returned to the eurozone in May, with consumer prices rising 0.3% year-on-year, after stagnating a month earlier. But April producer prices, also from the European Union's statistics arm, came in weaker than expected, indicating further deflationary pressures down the road.

In Germany, joblessness fell slightly less than expected in May and the rate remained unchanged at 6.4%, as forecast.

In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.80% at 6,897.91. In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.76% at 11,349.11, and in Paris, the CAC 40 slipped 0.44% to 5,003.01.

British American Tobacco (BTI) tumbled in London and Japan Tobacco (JAPAF) sank in Tokyo after a Canadian court ordered the companies and Philip Morris International (PM) to pay C$15.6 billion ($12.5 billion) to two groups of smokers following a 10-year lawsuit. The companies say they are planning to challenge the ruling.

Online appliances retailer AO World (AOWDF) fell sharply in London as the company posted a £2.2 million fiscal 2015 operating loss and noted that the U.K. outlook remains challenging as it fleshed out full-year results that it had previewed in February.

Swiss food service group Aryzta (ARZTF) was down more than 6% in Zurich after third-quarter figures showed North American revenue had slumped by 6.7% and the company predicted the decline would continue in the fourth quarter. It also reported weakness in Switzerland, after the central bank removed the currency peg in January, and in France due to "security concerns" in the quarter, and predicted flat annual sales and a decline in earnings per share in the full year.

Gases and chemicals maker Air Liquide (AIQUY) fell in Paris after announcing a deal to buy Healthcare Antisepsis Solutions, which makes skin disinfectants in Asia Pacific, from a unit of Ethicon.

Falling prices of certain commodities weighed on Asian stocks, though mainland Chinese indices continued their recovery on hopes for further economic and monetary stimuli from Beijing.

The Shanghai Composite index closed up 1.69% at 5,162.33. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 0.47% to 27,466.72, and in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.13% to close at 20,543.19. The Topix closed down 0.26% at 1,674.21.

In Mumbai, the Sensex tumbled 2.22% to 27,231.35. The MNI India Consumer Sentiment Indicator fell in May, though at 119.6 remained well above the 100 threshold that indicates optimists have prevailed.

In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.73% to close at 5,636.01 after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates on hold.

In Seoul, Hyundai Motor (HYMLF) closed down 10.4% on concern that the fall in the Japanese yen is eroding the carmaker's competitive edge over Japanese peers. The decline came a day after Hyundai reported a steep fall in May sales.

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