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Europe stocks close lower after mixed euro zone data; Fiat soars

European equities closed lower on Tuesday, after data released from the euro zone gave a mixed picture of the region's recovery and U.S. stocks posting steep declines.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed lower by 0.8 percent at 1,306.27 points — with all major sectors falling bar financial services.The German DAX was one of the biggest losers, slipping around 1.5 percent.

Euro zone manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) data for December met expectations with a 52.7 reading. Germany's manufacturing number just beat expectations whilst France continued to be a laggard with a figure of 47.0, against estimates of 47.1. Spanish and Italian data beat forecasts in a Reuters poll.

In the U.S., stocks fell sharply on Thursday, after closing out 2013 with double-digit gains, as a downgrade of Apple hit the technology sector and investors appeared to ignore a decline in and a strong manufacturing report.

China data weighs

Asian equity markets were mixed on Thursday after a final report from HSBC showed Chinese factory activity hit a three-month low in December. The manufacturing data from HSBC follows Wednesday's official reading, which missed expectations, and confirmed the Chinese economy lost some momentum in the final quarter of 2013.

The basic resources sector in Europe, which is heavily exposed to China, posted some of the biggest losses on Thursday, closing down roughly 0.78 percent.


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