Global share rally peters out, euro lifted by PMI boost

Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:30am EDT
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By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares edged down on Wednesday after three days of gains as signs of a still stuttering Chinese economy and rising worries about Ukraine offset a reassuring set of European economic numbers.

Having raced higher on Tuesday on a wave of takeover activity, European stocks fell 0.3 percent as investors locked in some of the gains and turned their attention to the region's broader economic outlook.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat start for Wall Street on what will be another heavy day of company earnings as well as U.S. PMI readings..

Data compiler Markit's equivalent readings for Europe, seen as good indicators of future growth, showed that while France's economy was still lagging, Germany continued to power the euro zone's recovery.

The PMI numbers showed the bloc's private sector has started the second quarter on its strongest footing in nearly three years, although burgeoning new orders were again mainly buoyed by firms cutting prices.

The data lifted the euro and the region's government bonds

London's FTSE share index held its ground, but the pan-European FTSEurofirst was pulled back by a 0.4 percent drop by Paris's CAC 40 and 0.3 percent falls in Frankfurt and Milan.

"It's pretty encouraging considering what we have seen for years. We are looking at 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter GDP growth if we continue to see this level," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.   Continued...

A man looks at an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei average (top C) and various countries' stock indices, as passers-by walk past outside a brokerage in Tokyo April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai