European stocks lurched in early trading on Monday, with benchmarks recently largely trading higher as Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) became the latest car maker to be afflicted by emissions-testing worries.
A rolling release of local Markit purchasing managers’ indices for May culminated with early eurozone figures, in which the composite and manufacturing indices both fell short of analysts’ expectations, and slipped, rather than rose, from the month before. Markit said the data “reinforced the picture of subdued growth of eurozone economic activity.”
Analysts at Deutsche Bank, meanwhile, said weak global growth, the likelihood of a Fed rate rise, a China slowdown and a precarious U.S. high-yield bond market had undermined the upside for European stocks.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.19% at 6,168,30, with Royal Mail and chip designer ARM leading the index higher even as mining stocks dropped. In Frankfurt, the Dax gained 0.46% to 9,961.62 and in Paris the Cac 40 edged up 0.03% to 4,355.87.
The Athens composite index was up 0.53% at 642.90. The Greek parliament on Sunday cleared budget cuts and tax rises before eurozone leaders on Tuesday meet to discuss the release of bailout funds.
S&P 500 mini futures were recently up 0.24%.
Fiat Chrysler was down almost 4% in Milan after a German newspaper claimed that the German Federal Motor Vehicle Office had shared suspicions that the car maker had cheated in emissions tests with European Commission and Italian authorities. If true the Agnelli family-backed car maker would join a long line of peers, including Volkswagen (VLKAY) in Germany and Mitsubishi Motors (MMTOF) in Japan. Fiat Chrysler had made no public statement about the Bild-am-Sonntag report as of mid-morning in Europe.
Pharmaceuticals and chemicals maker Bayer (BAYRY) slumped almost 3% in Frankfurt after unveiling a $62 billion, unsolicited takeover proposal for Monsanto (MON) and revealing it planned to fund part of the purchase price through a rights issue.
OCI fell more than 6% in Amsterdam after fertilizers maker CF Industries (CF) cancelled a complex $8 billion asset purchase after a clampdown on so-called tax inversions.
Also in Amsterdam insurer Aegon (AEG) initially fell sharply after transferring its remaining 3 billion ($4.4 billion) of U.K. annuity liabilities to Legal & General, whose stock was up 0.9% in London. Aegon had recently pared initial losses and was trading down less than 1%.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.49% at 16,654.60 and the Topix fell 0.35% to 1,338.68.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed down 0.26% at 19,801.19.
On mainland China, the CSI composite index closed up 0.24% at 3,085.66.