Stocks in Europe largely slowed down from their gains in the previous session as investors weighed up the latest manufacturing data from France and a surprise election victory for right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders in the Dutch elections.
The Stoxx Europe 600 edged higher by 0.2%, while across the pond, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 remained relatively unchanged. Contracts listed on the Nasdaq 100 edged just 0.1% higher.
France released its latest manufacturing purchasing managers’ index on Thursday, which showed that Europe’s second-biggest economy declined in November, thereby hurting investors’ confidence about Europe’s economic prosperity. This, together with Wilders’ unexpected election victory, saw a Bloomberg gauge of mid and large-cap Dutch stocks fall, with ING Groep NV slumping by as much as 3% while ASML Holding NV fell by 2.8%.