European Equity Benchmarks Close Lower; Utilities, Health Care, Automotives Burden Markets

European Equity Benchmarks Close Lower; Utilities, Health Care, Automotives Burden Markets

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The broad-based major European markets closed lower in Friday's trading session, as utilities, health care stocks, and automotive companies weighed down the markets.

In economic news, the UK's Office for National Statistics ( ONS ) reported that in the three months to September, the index of production increased an estimated 1.1% compared with the three months to June, due mainly to a rise of 1.1% in manufacturing.

Total production was estimated to have increased by 0.7% compared with August, due to a rise of 0.7% in manufacturing. Compared with September of 2016, Total production output increased by 2.5%, with manufacturing providing the largest upward contribution.

The ONS also reported that exports of goods to non-EU countries decreased by GBP1.7 billion ($2.24 billion) between the three months to June, and the three months to September. The decline was attributed to decreases in exports of fuels, and chemicals, which offset increases in exports to non-EU countries of other commodities over the same period.

In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported that turnover in the main construction industry in August was up 6.7% compared with the same month last year. At the end of August, the number of people employed by main construction industry entrepreneurs was up 2.3% compared to August of 2016.

And in France, the Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) reported that output bounced back slightly in the manufacturing industry in September, rising 0.4% after declining 0.3% in August, and gained 0.6% in overall industry, after dropping 0.2% the previous month. Manufacturing output grew over the third quarter of 2017 by 0.6%, as did the overall industry.

In equities, healthcare related stocks weighed down the FTSE in London as pharmaceutical firms GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca fell 2.1% and 1.9% respectively, medical technology company Smith & Nephew declined 1.5%, and private healthcare providers NMC Health and Mediclinic International lost 1.9% and 1.2% respectively. Distribution and outsourcing company Bunzl led all decliners, shedding 6.5%, followed by electricity and gas supplier SEE, which closed 2.4% lower.

In Frankfurt, media company Prosiebensat 1 Media led the DAX lower, falling 3.1%, while electricity and gas suppliers RWE and E.ON lost 2.5% and 1.5% respectively. Pharmaceutical firm Merck KGaA fell 1.9% and industrial gas company Linde shed 1.6%, as technology group Siemens, health care company Fresenius SE, and kidney dialysis company Fresenius Medical care dropped 1.5%, 1.3%, and 1.1% respectively.

In Paris, automotive socks weighed down the CAC as automakers Peugeot and Renault dropped 3.9% and 0.8%, respectively while tire maker Michelin shed 1.8% and auto parts supplier Valeo lost 1%. Supermarket operator Carrefour fell 1.5%, while chemicals company Solvay, oil company Total, and industrial Legrand each closed 1.1% lower.

The FTSE fell 0.68%, the DAX dropped 0.42%, and the CAC-40 was down 0.50%.

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