LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets were mostly looking forward to the week in a gloomy mood on Monday. Commodities and crude oil sank following a weak official purchasing managers index result from China, while in Europe Markit PMI indices for the manufacturing sector in several countries and the eurozone as a whole also disappointed. Spain, on the other hand, had a very strong PMI out-turn and Germany and Britain, which unlike the other big economies is outside the eurozone, at least did better than expected.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 0.39% at 6,060.09, while in Frankfurt the DAX was off 0.67% at 9,732.74. In Paris, the CAC 40 fell 0.62% to 4,389.47, while in Madrid, after a strong start in positive territory, the IBEX 35 was also down 0.12% at 8,327.60.
The U.K. largest telephone company, BT Group (BT) , topped the FTSE 100 leaderboard, up 3.14% at 500.10 pence. BT announced very positive third-quarter results, including underlying revenue of £4.6 billion ($6.57 billion), a gain of 4.7% -- its best in seven years, and underlying Ebitda up 3% at £1.61 billion.
It also announced a new structure, dividing the company into six lines of business: Consumer, for quadruple play telephony, broadband, TV and mobile services; EE, which will continue to run the mobile business that BT acquired from Orange SA and Deutsche Telekom AG in a £12.5 billion deal that completed on Friday; and four other units. The latter are mainly business to business operations, but include Openreach, the heavily regulated platform that provides access services to other operators, but which competitors want to be spun out of BT completely.
BT also got a fillip from the news that the telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to campaign against the £10.2 billion merger of its mobile rivals O2, the U.K. wireless unit of Spain's Telefónica, and CK Hutchison Holdings' 3G UK Ltd. That deal would cut the number of major competitors in the U.K. mobile market to three and leapfrog BT/EE and Vodafone into the No. 1 mobile operator slot. Ofcom failed to wrest oversight of that deal from the European Commission in Brussels, but hopes that Commissioner Margarethe Vestager will agree with its thinking.
Irish budget airline Ryanair Holdings (RYAAY - Get Report) announced an €800 million ($869 million) share buyback, reconfirming guidance of profits after tax of €1.175 billion to €1.225 billion for the full year. Ryanair was also up over 3% at €14.17. Revenue rose to EUR1.33 billion from EUR1.13 billion in the third quarter, as the number of passengers carried increased to 24.9 million from 20.8 million.
Medical devices maker Smith & Nephew said its CEO, Olivier Bouhon, has a highly treatable form of cancer, but will remain involved in running the company during his chemotherapy which starts later this month. The stock slipped 0.6% to 1,155 pence.
In Paris, GTT, a mid-cap supplier of cryonic membrane containment systems for the transport of liquefied natural gas, plunged nearly 20% to €27.78. That followed its announcement, after the market closed on Friday, that it is co-operating with a Korean Fair Trade Commission inquiry into unspecified commercial practices with its clients in the Korean shipbuilding industry. Only the previous day, Euronext-listed GTT (which stands for Gaztransport & Technigaz) had said it had not been informed of any such inquiry.
Meanwhile in Helsinki, communications network technology provider Nokia (NOK - Get Report) slipped 10.6% to €5.90 despite announcing that the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce delivered a verdict in its licensing case against Korea's Samsung Corp., which it said would have a positive financial impact. Nokia expects to receive at least approximately EUR 1.3 billion of cash during years 2016-2018 related to its settled and ongoing arbitrations, including this award. In Korea, Samsung Electronics closed up 1.13% at Won 1,163,000.
In Italy, Luxottica (LUX) fell 8.7% after lower-than expected-quarterly sales. The maker of Ray-Ban eyeglasses also said its co-chief executive officer, Adil Mehboob-Khan, resigned, after a year in the job.
Asia was mixed overnight, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 1.98% at 17,865.23 while the Topix was up 2.14% at 1,462.67. But in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng finished the day down 0.45% at 19,595.50, influenced by China's slide. The combined Shanghai and Shenzhen composite CSI 300 was off 1.53% while in Seoul, Korea, the Kospi was up 0.67% at 1,924.82.