Thursday, October 11 12:16:17
A rating cut that added to concerns over Spain pegged back European equities today, although gains in major retail and fashion stocks enabled some key indexes to edge into positive territory.
The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.2 percent to 2,452.19 points, but the broader pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.1 percent to 1,091.41 points.
A creeping return of fears over Europe's sovereign debt crisis were highlighted by the Standard and Poor's downgrade late on Wednesday, which adds to pressure on Spain to seek a sovereign bailout.
The downgrade pushed up Spanish bond yields as well as those of Italy, also under pressure from the region's economic problems, and Spain's IBEX stock market fell 0.8 percent.
"We are still avoiding southern European equities, we're sticking more to core European equity markets such as the UK," said Cyrille Urfer, head of asset allocation at Swiss bank Gonet.
Some of those core European markets - such as Britain's FTSE and France's CAC-40 - rose on Thursday following gains on stocks such as UK luxury clothing retailer Burberry and French supermarket retailer Carrefour. (C ) Reuters