European equity markets retreated today, as disappointing global macroeconomic data weighed on market sentiment. The CAC, DAX, IBEX indices and the London equity benchmark fell sharply between 0.56% and 1.65%. In the US, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 indices also posted losses in early trading, tracking the general downside momentum across Asian and European markets.
On the macroeconomic front, German Markit manufacturing flash PMI fell to 53.8 in March compared to 54.8 in February, missing analysts’ expectations. Furthermore, Eurozone’s Markit Composite flash PMI index retreated to 53.2 in March versus 53.3 in February, adding some pressure to the euro which slid lower against the US dollar, trading around the 1.37 area.
However, it was the fairly disappointing Chinese economic data that set a bearish tone across the equities and commodities markets. Poor Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI flash retreated further to 48.1 in March, verifying the recent slowdown in the Chinese economy, raising further concerns about weak growth in the country’s economy.
Tomorrow, market participants will be keeping an eye on the release of the German Ifo business climate index as well as UK PPI and CPI data, while in the US the main focus will turn to the release of key housing figures including monthly home prices, new home sales and consumer confidence data.