European markets focus on eurozone flash PMI data for May

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European stocks fell on Thursday morning, data from the euro area PMI (purchasing managers index) indicating a further slowdown in activity in the region’s industry and services in May.

The German DAX index and the French CAC 40 fell 1.3% each while the British FTSE 100 slipped 0.9%. Due to the Ascension holiday, markets are closed in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Euro zone PMI IHS Markit data on Thursday showed economic activity contracted less dramatically in May, as many bloc countries took steps to reopen their economies.

The PMI composite reading, covering both manufacturing and services, stood at 30.5 from the historic low of 13.6. Although significantly higher than expected, this figure remains well below the 50 mark, which separates contraction from expansion.

Investors are also following the latest news on coronaviruses. The World Health Organization said that the number of new cases reported worldwide had reached a daily record this week, despite authorities around the world trying to relax the lock-in measures put in place to curb the spread of the disease. virus.

The biggest movers

In terms of individual share price action, Lufthansa shares rose 6% after the German carrier announced it was in talks on a $ 10 billion state bailout deal.

The British hotel chain Whitbread plunged 14% after announcing a plan to raise $ 1.2 billion through a rights offering.

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