LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets followed Asia rather than the U.S. on Friday morning, softening on oil and commodity woes and the market turmoil in China rather than climbing in the wake of Wall Street's rally.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 1.44% at 5,832.85, while in Frankfurt the DAX was off 1.34% at 9,663.06. In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 1.66% at 4,241.22.
In London, telecom heavyweight BT Group (BT) picked up on the news that the competition regulator approved its £12.5 billion ($17.9 billion) takeover of mobile operator EE without conditions. The Competition and Markets Authority said it saw no major overlap between BT's landline offering and EE's mobile business. The stock rose sharply at the open though it slid amid the general gloom during the course of the morning, to trade back at around Thursday's closing price of 467 pence.
International Consolidated Airlines Group (BABWF) was up 0.6% at 567.5 pence after announcing the creation of a joint business with Latam American Airlines Group on flights between Europe and South America, which will expand on the existing traffic its British Airways and Iberia airlines already carry on the sector.
But miner BHP Billiton (BHP) , which expanded into U.S. shale oil in 2012 and is now having to cut production in its U.S. onshore fields, announced a $7.2 billion impairment from its U.S. shale assets, sparking some speculation about a reduction in its dividend, possibly as early as next month. By late morning, the stock was down 5.8% at 620.7 pence. But BHP wasn't even the worst performing of the mining stocks that dominate the FTSE 100. Anglo American (AAUKY) was down 8.27% at 241.2 pence and Glencore (GLNCY) was down 5.8% at 74.06 pence.
Sweden's Electrolux, which late last year was forced to walk away from a $3.3 billion deal to buy General Electric's (GE - Get Report) appliance business due to U.S. regulatory concerns, on Friday fell 2.41% to Skr182.2, after China's Haier Group agreed to buy the GE business instead. Haier's 41%-owned subsidiary Qingdao Haier will pay $5.4 billion for GE Appliances. Qingdao Haier is suspended from trading on the Shanghai exchange.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.54% at 17,147.11 while the TOPIX ended the day off 0.29% at 1,402.45. In Hong Kong, where the currency has been straining against its long-time peg against the U.S. dollar due to financial outflows from both Hong Kong and mainland China, the Hang Seng finished the day down 1.5% at 19,520.77. On the Chinese mainland exchanges, the combined Shanghai and Shenzhen CSI 300 ended down 3.19% at 3,118.73.