After performing strongly for most of the day, European shares turned lower near the end of the session.
That was after the Conference Board, a private research group, said its US Employment Trends Index slipped in August, pointing to a flat employment market for the rest of the year. That has a significant potential effect on US retail spending which accounts for 70 percent of GDP there. Across Europe, commodity companies were the biggest gainers thanks to firmer crude and metal prices. Merger activity boosted telecoms and pushed confectionery group Cadbury’s shares up further amid hopes Kraft Foods might have to raise its offer by up to 40 percent. There has even been speculation Nestle might make a counterbid for Cadbury, perhaps in a joint approach with US chocolate group Hershey. The banking sector pulled the region’s bourses lower; HSBC, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Banco Santander were all down.