European equity markets were mixed today, as investors still look for further direction after the releases of the PMI manufacturing figures. The CAC and DAX indices ended fairly flat on the day, while the London equity market edged higher.
On the macroeconomic front, manufacturing PMI activity across the Eurozone was below analysts’ expectations adding some pressure to the euro which retreated further, breaching below 1.36 against the USD. Eurozone’s Markit manufacturing PMI was reported at 52.2 in May, missing analysts’ expectations of 52.5, while German PMI manufacturing fell to 52.2 in May compared to 52.5 in April.
In the UK, Markit/CIPS PMI remained fairly flat at 57.0, but the surprise came from the housing figures as UK mortgage approvals fell unexpectedly to 62,918 in April against estimates of 64,750. The fall in the mortgage approvals triggered some concerns about the property market as the British economy tries to avoid another property bubble. Sterling was trading sideways around 1.67 against the US dollar.
In the US, construction spending rose by 0.2% in April but ISM manufacturing PMI declined to 53.2 in May, missing expectations of 55.2. The USD index climbed higher, trading above 80.5, adding some pressure to crude oil prices.
LME Base metals prices rebounded strongly supported a strong reading in China’s PMI which spread optimism in the metals market amid hopes of a rebound in metals demand from Asia. LME Copper, Lead and Nickel climbed more than 1.3% today with Copper breaching above 6900 points.