European stocks dropped this morning with a worrying set of French PMI figures adding to last nights’ tapering concerns and Chinese manufacturing data that missed estimates. The eagerly awaited FED minutes have on balance still not really given us any clarity on the tapering timeline, yes they imply a willingness to reduce bond purchases as the economy improves, but these minutes are 3 weeks out of date and have been succeeded by comments from Yellen and Bernanke, with neither seeming to be in a hurry. To the betting man, December is still a rank outsider, but I suppose in the context of the markets reliance on the story, the minutes won’t get to many bulls excited. The bigger concern to Europe should be French PMI’s, with both Services and Manufacturing missing estimates to shrink to 47.8 and 48.8, adding to last weeks GDP contraction to point towards another round of recession. A beat from German PMI’s failed to pull markets back, instead highlighting the growing divergence from their French neighbours, with the CAC lagging well behind the DAX in early trading. Rumours of the introduction of a negative deposit rate from the ECB will probably continue to circulate given the latest set of French numbers, but will get strong resistance from Germany if Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann’s comments are any indication. Talvivaara stock was knocked down over 10% this morning after failing to raise additional capital from a number of shareholders for a restructuring of its debt, re-iterating that it may face bankruptcy if the court-supervised overhaul is not put into action. The firm is still looking at other options including the use of its own cash, but estimates that the last note may be gone by early 2014. It seems like every other day Rolls-Royce announce a major new contract at the moment. This time it’s a $138m services contract with Petrobras, supporting 15 of their own industrial power generators at an offshore Brazil site. SABmiller’s strong presence in emerging markets has helped profit growth to beat H1 estimates, although earnings were hampered by the weakness of key currencies such as the SA rand against the dollar. Some investors may have had concerns with the region following poor sales from consumer goods firms Unilever and Diageo in the regions, but strong gains from Latin America to Asia will have put these fears to bed for now. CMC Markets is an execution only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.