European stocks finished lower Monday as gloomy German economic data and a warning about global central bank effectiveness dampened sentiment ahead of the European Central Bank’s highly anticipated policy decision later this week.
The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3% to end at 340.93. The index on Friday ended 0.7% higher and posted a 3.1% rise for the week, its third straight weekly win.
Among individual movers Monday, shares of dropped 6.7%. The French utility’s chief financial officer, Thomas Piquemal, resigned over concerns that an 18 billion pound ($ 25.6 billion) project to build new nuclear reactors in the U.K. could threaten EDF’s financial stability, a source told The Wall Street Journal.
European trading got under way with data that showed manufacturing orders in Germany slipped 0.1% in January from December. While that was smaller than a projected 0.4% decline, the report underscored weakening trends in Europe’s largest economy. Germany’s lost 0.5% to settle at 9,778.93.
U.S. stocks declined, after the biggest one-day jump in four months, as worsening Chinese data reignited concern about the impact of the country’s slowdown on global growth.
Energy companies retreated with crude prices, after capping back-to-back weekly gains for the first time since November. Exxon Mobil Corp. sank 2.6 percent before its earnings report Tuesday. Gains among Internet companies helped put a floor under equities, with Facebook Inc. and Priceline Group Inc. rising at least 1 percent. Netflix Inc. rose 3.5 percent amid speculation Apple Inc. could make an offer for the online video company.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.6 percent to 1,929.04 at 12:42 p.m. in New York, paring a drop of as much as 1 percent. The gauge rallied 2.5 percent on January’s final trading day to trim its worst start to a year since 2009. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 95.82 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,370.48, while the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.5 percent.
Investors are also assessing economic releases for indications on the strength of the U.S. economy. Data today showed manufacturing shrank in January for a fourth consecutive month as businesses cut staffing plans. A separate report showed household spending cooled in December as Americans used gains in incomes to boost their savings, with little evidence that inflation is gaining traction.