European markets were trading with deep cuts Thursday morning as risk sentiment declined after weak data in China added to global growth concerns.
Investor confidence took a blow after weak U.S. housing starts data yesterday spurred concerns of growth in the world's largest economy. Adding to the worries, China's manufacturing activity hit its lowest level in seven months during February, according to preliminary reports by HSBC.
Meanwhile, data on euro-zone manufacturing activity was also not very encouraging. Reports said industrial activity in the region fell to a two-month low of 53.0 in February, further denting market sentiment.
Stocks on the Move
Resources stocks were sharply lower -- Anglo American plc plunged 3% while Glencore Xstrata plc. gave up 1.6%. Rio Tinto Plc. was down 2.3% as investors feared a slowdown in the world's top economies could hurt the demand for metals, and subsequently the mining industry.
Financials were lower across the region, adding to the broad losses.
In stock-specific movements, some corporate results were in focus.
Safran S.A. lost 2.9% despite posting a 22% increase in its full-year adjusted net profit.
BAE Systems Plc. plunged 8.8% after the company recorded a fall in 2013 net profit and warned of reduced earnings in 2014.
Air France- KLM dived over 3% after the airline reported a wider net loss in the fourth quarter due to an impairment charge although overall operating profits improved.
On the other side, Danone SA improved over 2% after the company said it is looking forward to steady sales this year.