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Market Update

European Auto Market Weakness Continues, Stocks Decline

Author: Jeffrey Gogo
Last Update: 10:53 AM ET April 17 2013

4:00 PM Frankfurt – European markets declined on weak auto sales and the IMF lowered its global growth outlook. Auto sales in Germany plunged 17% and Peugeot Citroen lowered its annual outlook.

European stocks plunged Wednesday, as auto sales dropped and the global economic outlook weakened.

The UK''s unemployment increased by 70,000 to 2.56 million in the three months to February.

In London trading, the FTSE 100 fell 0.60% or 37.60 to 6,266.98 on weak jobs data and weak metal prices. Resource stocks led the decliners.

The DAX in Frankfurt declined a 1.59% to 7,560.30 after reporting the biggest decline in vehicles sales in Europe.

In Paris, the CAC 40 lost 1.42% to 3,633.31 on budget concerns.

Weak Auto Sales in Europe

Auto sales in the European Union shrank 10.3% in March from a year ago, a decrease for the eighteenth month in a row, the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association said Wednesday.

Sales in the quarter to March declined 9.8% from a year ago period, the worst decline since the association started collecting data in the region in 1990.

Germany led the decline in the region with a loss of 17.1% and sales in France fell 16.2%.Sales at UK, which is outside the currency zone but in the union, sales increased 4.9%.

In all, 1.31 million cars were sold across the European continent in March.

Toyota and Peugeot Citroen reported largest declines. Sales for two fell 16% from a year earlier, Volkswagen sales dropped 15% and General Motors sales dropped 12.8%. Sales for Jaguar and Mercedes climbed 21% and 0.8% respectively.

The association had guided sales in the region to decline 5% in the year to 12 million, but now believes sales could fall more.

Separately, Toyota sold 5.13 million hybrid vehicles by end of March, the company said, making up 14% of global sales.

UK Unemployment Rises to 7.9%

The UK jobless rate rose to 7.9% for the quarter to February, according to the Office for National Statistics. The number of unemployed increased 70,000 to 2.56 million and those claiming jobless benefit declined 7,000 to 1.53 million.

Total employed population is just below 30 million, both full- time and part-time, down 2,000 from three months earlier.

The UK pound fell 0.5% against the euro after release of the jobs figures.

Weekly income growth fell in the review period, the ONS said.

Average weekly income including bonuses slowed 0.8% from a year ago and those without bonuses rose 1%, the slowest in over a decade.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc