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Prior to the European open, the markets had been updated by Chinese manufacturing PMI figures and the HSBC Chinese assessment of said figures. Both came in marginally ahead of expectations but, though encouraging, were not really good enough to get the markets overly excited.
At 8.15am Spain published its own manufacturing PMI figures, which were poor. Not only did they miss expected levels of 51.3, they dipped below 50, to 48.6, which demonstrates a contraction in the economic picture. Panic spread across the European indices, as fear regarding upcoming figures for France and other nations gripped traders.
This is a week where US figures are more likely to dominate but for the time being it is Europe that is setting the tone.