May 22, 2013
Global shares dragged lower by grim economic data
European stocks ended slightly lower todasy in extremely thin trading volumes as US markets remained closed for a holiday, with investors taking a breather after a sharp three-day rally and ahead of the European Central Bank policy meeting
Strong demand for safe-haven German debt at a bond auction also signalled that investors remain worried over the implementation of recently agreed measures to help ease the euro zone's debt crisis, sending yields on Spanish and Italian debt higher.
Activity was subdued, however, with US markets closed for the Independence Day holiday and ahead of policy decisions from the European Central Bank and Bank of England today.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.1 percent lower at 1,045.63 points in volumes representing only slightly more than half a an average session of the past three months, and the lowest volume since last December's holiday week.
In Asia, Nikkei share average finished at a two-month high, driven by energy and resource companies following a rise in oil prices and bolstered by improved risk appetite amid expectations that central banks will act to support flagging global growth.
The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 9,104.17, its highest close since May 8, while the broader Topix index firmed 0.2 percent to 778.70, also a two-month high.