European stocks closed lower Wednesday, as uncertainty over whether Greece will soon receive additional financial aid.
Concerns over the worsening of the euro zone’s debt crisis continued to weigh on market sentiment.
At the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 dropped 0.81%, France’s CAC 40 retreated 0.89%, while Germany’s DAX 30 declined 0.94%.
Sentiment found some support after German newspaper Bild reported on Tuesday that Greece is to receive EUR44 billion of financial aid in one payment, citing German government sources.
However, investors remained cautious amid ongoing divisions between officials from the International Monetary Fund and Europe on how best to reduce Greece’s debt to manageable levels.
A decision on unlocking the country’s next tranche of aid, worth EUR31.5 billion, has been postponed until 20 November.
Markets were also jittery after data showed that industrial production in the euro zone fell by 2.5% in September, more than the expected 1.9% decline, following a rise of 0.9% the previous month.
Financial stocks turned broadly lower, as shares in French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale dropped 0.79% and 0.75%, while Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank declined 0.38% and 1.03% respectively.
Mediaset added to losses, as shares plunged 4.31% after the broadcaster reported a higher-than-expected third-quarter net loss of EUR88.4 million, compared with a profit of EUR1.4 million a year earlier.
On the upside, Vivendi surged 4.37% after the company said earnings will fall less-than-expected this year, helped by cost cuts and video-game demand.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 slid 0.54%, weighed by losses in oil and mining stocks, while data showed that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.K. in October posted the largest increase since September 2011.
Evraz saw shares soar 5.18% and Eurasian Natural Resources rallied 3.04%, while copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys tumbled 1.48% and 1.83% respectively.
Meanwhile, U.K. lenders were broadly lower. Shares in HSBC Holdings slipped 0.09% and the Royal Bank of Scotland fell 0.16%, while Lloyds Banking and Barclays dropped 0.67% and 0.84%.
Elsewhere, ICAP dove 6.49%, after the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks said that fiscal first-half pretax profit declined 26% to GBP137 million as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis hurt trading.
The company also said full-year profit would be at the “low end” of the GBP300 million to GBP332 million range forecast by analysts.
In the U.S., equity markets traded down with the Dow Jones off 0.59%, the S&P 500 down 0.29% and the Nasdaq lower by 0.28%.
Also Wednesday, Italy’s Treasury sold EUR3.5 billion worth of three-year government bonds at an average yield of 2.64%, down from 2.86% at a similar auction last month.
Investors are looking forward to U.S. CPI and a speech by Fed Chairman Bernanke on Thursday.