Eurozone stock markets slid Wednesday after the European Commission reprimanded France for breaching the EU's budget rules, a further blow for the country in the midst of political turmoil ahead of surprise elections.

London rose on a sharp slowdown in UK inflation, while telecoms giant Vodafone stock jumped two percent after the mobile phone giant offloaded most of its stake in Indian mobile tower operator Indus Towers for $1.8 billion.

Paris led the fallers after the European Union's executive arm placed France back in the EU's public spending sin bin for the first time since President Emmanuel Macron rose to power in 2017.

Investor sentiment has been rocked ever since Macron called a snap election last week in response to a far-right surge in EU elections.

Macron's centrist bloc is currently trailing third in polls behind Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally (RN) party and a new left-wing alliance New Popular Front.

Investors fear that French public finances could worsen significantly as a result of either tax-cutting policies by the far right -- or the repeal of pension reforms by the left.

"The French CAC once again finds itself at the bottom of the pile, with Goldman Sachs warning that a Le Pen victory would see the country's debt burden swell to the highest level since 1950," Scope Markets analyst Joshua Mahony in reference to Wednesday's performance.

Elsewhere, Asian stock markets finished mixed following yet another record showing in New York on Tuesday, which was fuelled by data that boosted US interest rate cut hopes.

The below-forecast May US retail sales figures pointed to signs of fatigue among American consumers -- a crucial driver of growth -- suggesting the world's number one economy was slowing and giving the central bank room to ease monetary policy.

The reading helped to slightly offset a surprisingly large jump in US jobs creation that pointed to a still-resilient labour market despite a long-running campaign of rate hikes and stubbornly high inflation.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq clocked up more records, driven again by a surge in demand for Big Tech, with chip giant Nvidia overtaking Microsoft to become the world's most valuable publicly traded company.

Nvidia, a titan in the artificial intelligence sector, hit a market capitalisation of $3.349 trillion after cruising nearly 3,500 percent higher in the past five years. And one analyst predicted it could even hit $5 trillion in the coming year, according to Bloomberg News.

Wall Street is closed for trading on Wednesday for a public holiday.

- Key figures around 1100 GMT -

  • Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,576.21 points
  • Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.3 percent at 18,076.08
  • EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,891.28
  • London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 8,196.20
  • Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 38,570.76 (close)
  • Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 2.9 percent at 18,430.39 (close)
  • Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,018.05 (close)
  • New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.2 percent at 38,834.86 (close)
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0744 from $1.0743 on Tuesday
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.39 pence from 84.50 pence
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 157.84 yen from 157.85 yen
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2731 from $1.2711
  • West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.2 percent at $81.43 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $85.25 per barrel