European Markets Drop As Investors Focus On U.S. Tax Reform

The European markets got off to a weak start Friday, following the release of the disappointing Chinese manufacturing report. Traders were also in a cautious mood ahead of today’s vote in the Senate on the U.S. tax reform bill. The markets never fully recovered from their weak start and ended the day in the red.

GOP leaders were forced to delay a final vote on Thursday after the legislation hit a snag. The latest reports suggest that Republicans have rounded up enough votes to pass a revised bill today.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 0.69 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks decreased 1.19 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 0.54 percent.

The DAX of Germany dropped 1.25 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 1.04 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. declined 0.36 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.47 percent.

In Frankfurt, Fuchs Group rose 0.07 percent. The company is selling its German production site in Dormagen to CCI Group, Japan.

In Paris, Danone lost 1.59 percent after it has been awarded damages of 105 million euros to be paid immediately by Fonterra for costs suffered as a result of the Fonterra food safety failures of 2013.

In London, Barclays declined 2.02 percent after cutting stake in its Africa division.

Indivior surged 3.34 percent after its opioid addiction drug was approved by the U.S. health regulator.

Royal Dutch Shell advanced 0.25 percent after it struck a deal with PetroChina, which will pave the way for the development of large gas project in Australia.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group fell 2.39 percent after it said it will close 259 branches, and cut around 680 jobs as more customers bank online.

Altice rallied 0.44 percent in Amsterdam after it agreed to sell its Swiss telecommunications solutions business and data center operations.

Eurozone manufacturing activity expanded notably in November underpinned by production and new orders, survey data from IHS Markit showed Friday. The final factory Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 60.1 in November, its best reading apart from April 2000’s series-record high. The score improved from 58.5 in October.

The UK manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest pace in more than four years in November, driven by production and new orders, data from IHS Markit showed Friday.

The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 58.2 in November from a…

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