Weak Japanese Growth and a Successful Bond Auction Push a Lackluster Session

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LONDON -- European equity markets are continuing to see a mixed and somewhat flat session Monday, with thin volumes leaving little momentum on either side of the market. Stocks started the day on the back foot after Japan posted weaker-than-expected growth numbers overnight. The country's GDP grew just 0.3% in the second quarter.

Negative sentiment was curbed a little after a report showed that Greece's economy contracted at a slower pace than expected in Q2, while a successful auction of Italian bills helped the outlook for the country, despite Italian finance minister Vittorio Grilli's statement yesterday that it would overshoot its deficit goal this year but is still on target to meet its EU obligations.

With most benchmark indexes mixed and seeing little movement, the French CAC 40 (INDEX: ^FCHI) is making some of the largest gains in the majors, up just 0.2%.


As always, the following price moves are based on this morning's European trading.

In this rudderless session, Bank of Ireland (NYS: IRE) is making significant gains, up 3.2% as a bout of bargain hunting supports the stock following the previous session's sharp losses. The bank announced last week that its pre-tax loss was almost double that of the first half, causing its shares to plummet more than 6% on Friday and attracting opportunistic buyers this morning.

Italian financials are also seeing some decent gains Monday, helped by today's successful bond auction. The auction of Italian 364-day bills saw the country sell its maximum target for the issuance and raise 8 billion euros, boosting confidence in Italy's ability to remain liquid and hold strong during the broader deficit crisis. Intesa Sanpaolo (NASDAQOTH: ISNPY.PK) is leading gains in the financial sector, up more than 2%.

On a more negative note, Nokia (NYS: NOK) is seeing an end to its recent buoyant performance as profit taking and consolidation leave its shares 2.2% lower. Last week, news that Nokia will sell its Qt app-tools unit -- bought in 2008 to develop applications for Symbian and MeeGo operating systems, which Nokia no longer focuses on -- helped the company's share price make good headway. Nokia's shares have more than double since this time last month.

Meanwhile, German solar-panel maker Solarworld (NASDAQOTH: SRWRY.PK) is seeing some of the deepest losses on the continent, down almost 10% after reporting disappointing earnings. The company reported a net loss of 161 million euros last quarter -- its second-largest of all time -- and forecast negative earnings for this year as a whole. Solarworld is leading a push by about 25 similar European companies into an EU probe of Chinese rivals, alleging they sold products at a loss on regional markets.

As always, this morning's European news saw some winners and losers -- and perhaps some European buying opportunities. Indeed, legendary investor Warren Buffett has recently spent more than $1 billion buying the stock of a prominent European large cap. If you want to know why Buffett has bought into Europe, this special Motley Fool report -- "The One European Share Warren Buffett Loves" -- reveals everything, including the price he paid. You can download the report today for free, but hurry -- the report is available for a limited time only.

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The article Weak Japanese Growth and a Successful Bond Auction Push a Lackluster Session originally appeared on Fool.com.

Karl Loomes does not own any share mentioned in this article.The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of Ireland. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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