2:45 PM Frankfurt European indexes edged lower and the euro area sentiment, German jobless rate and UK home prices dropped in March. The number of mortgage approvals in the UK fell in February. Spanish strike paralyzed the nation and Italy sold 8 billion in debt.
European indexes edged lower after German unemployment dropped more than expected but sentiment in the euro area dipped slightly in March.
A general strike by Spanish labor unions paralysed the nation with no activity in the metal, mining and textile industries today.
Moody''s Investors Service downgraded the credit opinions of seven Portuguese banks and banking groups.
The senior debt and deposit ratings of Banco Espirito Santo, Banco Internacional do Funchal, Banco BPI and Caixa Geral de Depositos were cut by one notch.
The debt and deposit opinions of a subsidiary of Banco Santander S.A. were lowered by two notches to Ba1. The debt and deposit ratings of Banco Comercial Portugues and of Caixa Economica Montepio Geral (Montepio) were confirmed at Ba3.
Moodys also said all credit opinions have a negative outlook.
In Paris trading, the CAC-40 Index declined 32.04 or 0.9% to 3,398.11 and in Frankfurt the DAX Index edged lower 78.40 or 1.1% to 6,920.06.
Italian 10-year bonds yield rose two basis points to 5.11% and yield on similar Spanish government bonds increased five basis points to 5.35%.
Italian Bond Auction
Italy sold 8 billion of securities maturing in 2017 and 2022 as borrowing costs fell.
The Italian Treasury sold 3.25 billion of bonds due in September 2022 at an average yield of 5.24%, down from 5.5% at the previous auction on February 28. The bid-to-cover ratio was 1.65 compared to 1.40 last month.
The nation also sold 2.5 billion of five-year bonds maturing in May 2017 at an average yield of 4.18% and 2.26 billion of floating-rate securities due in June 2017 to an average yield of 4.6%.
Euro-zone Sentiment Dips
Euro-zone economic confidence dipped in March, driven by decreasing confidence in the industry and construction sectors, according to a survey data from the European Commission released today.
The economic sentiment index fell to 94.4 in March from 94.5 in February.
Industrial confidence worsened to -7.2 in March from -5.7 in February. Confidence in the construction sector dropped to -26.5 in March from -24.6 in February.
German Unemployment Drops
German unemployment dropped more than expected in March, data from the Federal Labor Agency showed today.
The number of unemployed declined 18,000 from a month earlier in March to 2.84 million and rate of unemployment declined to 6.7% in March from 6.8% in February.