Stocks Under Pressure Due To Global Growth Concerns, Euro Area PMI Barely Above February’s 13 Month Low

European shares are trading lower and U.S. stock indexes have opened lower on Tuesday morning due to concerns about global growth.

New composite euro area PMI data released this morning from Markit shows that growth has been subdued during the first quarter of 2016.

The final Markit Euro area PMI Composite Index posted 53.1 in March, up from 53.0 in February, but below the flash estimate of 53.7.

Although March saw an improvement in the rate of economic expansion for the first time in 3 months, slower growth of new orders offset a strengthening of manufacturers.

Measured as a whole, employment rose at the slowest pace since September.

During the opening quarter, the average of the output index (53.2) was the weakest registered since the fourth quarter of 2014.

Growth of output and new business both slowed to 14 month lows, leading to the weakest increase in workforce levels since September 2015.

Final Euro area services business activity index posted 53.1 in March, down from 54.2 in December.

“The Eurozone economy failed to show any significant gain in momentum. With the PMI barely rising from February’s 13 month low, the region looks to have grown just by 0.3 percent again in the first quarter” said Chris Williamson, chief economist from Markit.

“Sluggish growth is the result of the lackluster demand, accompanied by falling prices as firms compete at the expense of profit margins. Not surprisingly, hiring is coming under pressure as firms struggle to contain costs. Hopes are pinned on the economy being rejuvenated by the ECB’s more assertive policy initiatives, and the upturn in service sector optimism seen during the month suggests that firms are taking a more positive view of the outlook” Williamson added.

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