VIENNA (Alliance News) - European stocks are turning in a lackluster performance on Wednesday after recent gains on hopes for ECB action in June. Investors are digesting a couple of downbeat economic reports from the region, with German unemployment rising unexpectedly for the first time in six months in May, while French consumer spending declined in April after recovering strongly last month.
British retail sales increased for the sixth straight month in May, but at a slower pace than in April, while Eurozone economic sentiment improved more than expected in May, driven by higher confidence among consumers and industry managers, separate reports showed. The economic sentiment index rose to 102.7 from 102 in April, the European Commission said.
The Stoxx Europe 600 is down 0.1% after rising to a six-year high yesterday. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks and the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major UK companies, are also down marginally, while the benchmark indexes in Germany, France and the UKare little changed with a positive bias.
Osram Licht AG is tumbling 3.6% in Frankfurt. The maker of lamps, lighting systems, and electronic control gears said that it is adjusting its revenue expectation against the background of an accelerated decline in the traditional general illumination business in the current fiscal year.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC shares are down 1.4% in London after the Serious Fraud Office of Britain launched a formal criminal investigation into its sales practices.
British lender Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. is rising 1.5% on reports it plans to cut up to 400 jobs in its US trading business over the next two years as part of its efforts to reduce its assets ahead of tough new US regulations.
French telecom major Orange SA, previously known as France Telecom, is gaining half a percent in Paris after the company appointed Ramon Fernandez as the company's deputy chief executive officer and chief financial officer.
Nestle shares are moving up 0.2%. The Swiss foods giant announced that it has agreed to buy the rights to several dermatology products from Canada'sValeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. for USD1.4 billion in cash.
Ahold NV shares are tumbling 3.2% in Amsterdam. The supermarket chain reported a sharp decline in first-quarter profit, mainly due to the absence of prior-year's divestment gain.
Shares of Elekta publ AB are down nearly 10% in Stockholm after the Swedish medical instruments maker reported lower earnings in its fiscal year 2014, despite growth in sales.
Elsewhere, the Asian markets rose broadly as robust US economic indicators, prospects of some policy action from the European Central Bank at its June 5 meeting and the outcome of Sunday's presidential election in Ukraine bolstered risk appetite. Trading in the US index futures indicate a slightly higher open after solid gains yesterday.