European shares dropped in early trading on Wednesday, starting the new quarter on a negative note after poor macro data from China.
Investors awaited a batch of manufacturing data from the eurozone, which should shed light on the region’s economic outlook following the start of the European Central Bank’s massive asset-buying scheme.
At 0705 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.5 percent at 1,576.29 points. The benchmark index surged 16 percent in the first quarter.
Surveys of China’s factory and services sectors showed stubborn weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy in March, fueling expectations that Beijing will have to roll out more policy support to avert a sharper slowdown.
Traders also mentioned renewed worries over Greece, as the country failed on Tuesday to reach an initial deal with the European Union and the IMF to unlock aid after the creditors dismissed a package of reforms from Athens as ideas rather than a concrete plan. [Reuters]