Europe close: Stocks mixed as Germany cuts growth forecast



LONDON (ShareCast) - - Germany cuts growth forecast
- European banks slide as investors
- Japanese equity benchmark retreats

European equities finished mixed Wednesday after Asian stocks fell, on the back of a weakening in the Euro and after Germany cut its growth forecasts for this year.

Japanese equity benchmarks retreated following a correction in the Japanese Yen's cross versus the European single currency which - admittedly - came on top of so-called 'overbought' readings in the equity space.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government said gross domestic product growth would slow to 0.4% this year from 0.7% in 2012 in Europe's biggest economy. Even so, and in classic German fashion, Economics minister Philipp Rösler played down the revisions, highlighting the record low - and stable - unemployment rate, while emphasising that the economy should recover towards growth of 1.6% in the following year.

In other German headlines, Rösler responded to Spanish president Mariano Rajoy's call for more stimulus by insisting that there would be no more debt-financed economic stimulus measures. More specifically, he favoured the current "growth-friendly budget consolidation course".

In an interview for Financial Times, yesterday, Rajoy had called for nations to boost growth as it was unreasonable to ask Spain to keep to contractionary measures at this time.

Germany was hit after the rest of the Eurozone, its biggest export market, fell into recession last year as countries from Greece to Spain cut spending to alleviate deficits.

Basic resource stocks drive stocks lower

Basic resource stocks led losses on the main European bourses. This after the World Bank lowered its forecasts for world growth next year and as iron ore prices - much like some of the major currencies - corrected lower. There was again some 'market chatter' to be heard regarding the accuracy of the most recent export data out of China.

Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) dropped 3.2% following worker unrest at its platinum mines.

Belgacom (Other OTC: BGAOY - news) fell 0.64%. The telecoms industry slid after Deutsche Bank (Xetra: 514000 - news) warned that fourth-quarter results are unlikely to raise optimism in the sector.

TUI Travel (LSE: TT.L - news) rose 3.94% after the London leisure group confirmed it had been approached by its German parent company, TUI AG (Xetra: TUAG00 - news) , about a merger.

French retailer Casino (Paris: FR0000125585 - news) was up despite announcing that sales fell in the fourth quarter, as its shares gained from an upgrade out of analysts at Bank of America (Other OTC: BACYL - news) -Merrill Lynch.

Fenner (LSE: FENR.L - news) was up 0.99% after the British-based manufacturer reported first quarter trading in line with expectations.

Single currency slides

The euro/dollar had fallen by 0.01% to the 1.3305 dollar mark by the close.

Front month Brent crude futures climbed by 0.181 dollars to the 110.500 dollar mark on the ICE.