Europe shares close lower; PMIs miss estimates

European stocks closed lower Friday as investors paused for breath after recent gains and digested the latest data on manufacturing and services activity in the euro zone.


PMIs miss estimates

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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index ended the day down 0.7 percent provisionally with the German Dax and France's CAC 40 both down by 0.4 percent. The FTSE 100 closed flat on the day

The banking sector was the worst performer after a rally in the previous session aided by the weaker dollar following the rate decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

There was bad news for euro zone on Friday with the latest flash purchasing manager's index (PMI) falling to a near two-year low, indicating that the economic upturn in the region is fragile and failing to achieve any real traction. The preliminary PMI from Markit showed that business activity in the 19-country region fell to 52.6 in September versus 52.9 in August and below market expectations.

Stephen Brown, a European economist at Capital Economics, believes that pressure on the European Central Bank to take action will continue to mount. "We expect it to announce an extension of its asset purchase program in December, if not before."

Sports Direct shares rise

In the U.S., Wall Street was also slightly lower with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 0.3 percent and the broader S&P500 down 0.23 percent.

In Asia, markets were mixed on Friday. Japanese stocks were trading lower after returning from a one-day holiday on Thursday, having rallied on Wednesday when the Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced an overhaul of its monetary policy framework.

In U.S. politics, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proposed raising taxes on inherited property to 65 percent for the largest estates as she bolstered plans for tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans, Reuters reported on Thursday.

In stocks news, Mike Ashley has been named CEO of U.K. retailer Sports Direct, the company he founded. Shares of the firm rose 5.5 percent.

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