European stocks closed lower Wednesday as investors reacted to a jobs report in the U.S. and a slew of data from the euro zone.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index wended Wednesday provisionally down 0.3 percent with only three sectors in positive territory. The basic resources sector was the worst performer, down 2.7 percent.
Markets were unmoved earlier in the morning by data showing that the euro zone inflation rate remained at 0.2 percent in August, unchanged from the previous month. The region's unemployment rate for July also remained unchanged from the previous month, at 10.1 percent.
Meanwhile later in the session, a U.S report showed job creation at the company level rose about in line with expectations in August, despite weakness in manufacturing and construction. The ADP report is seen as a warm-up for the all-important U.S. jobs data due on Friday. The non-farm payrolls report will be eagerly watched by the U.S. Federal Reserve and could determine whether the central bank increases interest rates in September.
"The U.S. jobs data is the main macro focus of the week. The markets are pursuing an approval to back up Janet Yellen's hawkish stance on the macro front," Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said in a note.
In morning trade on Wall Street, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 were down around 0.3 percent.
Shares of Commerzbank ended the day up around 3.4 percent after a German magazine report suggested that Deutsche Bank had considered a merger with its German rival. The German Manager Magazin did not cite sources. Neither Deutsche Bank nor Commerzbank would comment on the report. Shares of Deutsche Bank were up around 2.7 percent.
Meanwhile, French industrial group Bouygues' share price was up 1.3 percent after it reported a 73 percent rise in first-half current operating profit despite a slip in sales, Reuters reported. The family-controlled company also announced preparations for the succession of chairman and chief executive Martin Bouygues.
In other news, French Economy Minister Emanuel Macron resigned on Tuesday in order to work on his plan "to transform France" but there is speculation that he will run in the 2017 presidential election.
Meanwhile, British consumer confidence bounced back in August after a Brexit blip, a survey by GfK showed on Wednesday.