European Markets Slide to One-Month Low
European stock markets moved lower across the board on Wednesday, tracking a negative trading mood in Asia where lingering concerns about a slowdown in China hit sentiment.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index slid 0.7% to 329.19, setting it on track for the lowest close in a month.
Weighing on the pan-European benchmark, shares of G4S PLC lost 2.7% after the security company said it swung to a loss in 2013, partly due to a 386-million-pound ($642 million) restructuring charge.
Shares of Valeo SA dropped 2.3% after the French government sold a 2.5% stake in the auto-parts manufacturer for 200 million euros ($277 million).
On a more upbeat note, shares of Prudential PLC rallied 5.7% after the U.K. insurer raised dividends and said it extended its strategic partnership with bank Standard Chartered PLC . Standard Chartered shares traded 0.8% lower.
Adecco SA climbed 4.8% after the staffing firm reported fourth-quarter earnings ahead of expectations.
More broadly, European stock markets mirrored the weak trading day in Asia, where Japan's Nikkei slumped 2.6% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.7%. The losses came as worries over a slowdown in China continued to weigh on the trading mood, after a surprise decline in Chinese exports rattled markets at the beginning of the week.
In January, weaker-than-expected manufacturing data from the world's second-largest economy triggered a wider market rout, with emerging markets and their currencies hit especially hard. A major concern is that a hard landing in China could slow growth globally, after years of stellar expansion in the country helped boost the international economy. Read: China may giveth to banks, after China taketh away
U.S. stock futures also pointed to a lower open on Wall Street.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index dropped 0.9% to 6,625.66, while France's CAC 40 index gave up 1.3% to 4,295.16. Germany's DAX 30 index slid 1.2% to 9,196.45. Read: This chart shows why the DAX could continue to underperform