- European stocks were lower on Friday, as the release of disappointing euro zone data on Thursday continued to weigh and as investors eyed an upcoming report on German business climate.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 shed 0.31%, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.20%, while Germany’s DAX slipped 0.13%.

Markets were jittery after data on Thursday showed that manufacturing activity in the euro zone expanded at the slowest rate in six months in May, although the region’s service sector expanded at the fastest rate in almost three years.

Separately, Germany’s private sector continued to grow strongly this month but the French private sector fell back into contraction territory.

Market participants also continued to focus on developments in Ukraine, where presidential elections were scheduled to take place on Sunday May 25. U.S. and European officials have already warned that Russia would face additional sanctions if Moscow disrupts the upcoming elections.

Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) rose 0.31% and 0.42%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) tumbled 1.59%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) added 0.13% and 0.31%% respectively, while Spain''s BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) slipped 0.07% and 0.27%.

Elsewhere, Alstom (PARIS:ALSO) retreated 0.96% after General Electric (NYSE:GE) agreed to a French government request to extend by three weeks the deadline for its planned $17 billion purchase of the company''s energy units.

In London, FTSE 100 slid 0.33%, weighed by Smiths Group (LONDON:SMIN), down 3.76%, after the producer of security scanners forecast a decline in profitability at its Smiths Detection unit.

Sabmiller (LONDON:SAB) also remained under pressure for the second consecutive session, dropping 0.88%, after after the brewer on Thursday predicted little change in business conditions this year and reported full-year earnings in line with analysts’ estimates.

Mining stocks added to losses, as Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) edged down 0.15% and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) declined 0.50%, while rivals Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) and Fresnillo (LONDON:FRES) retreated 0.57% and 0.77% respectively.

In the financial sector, stocks were mixed. Shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) edged up 0.15% and Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) added 0.21%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) dipped 0.02% and 0.04%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.01% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.01% uptick, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.03% gain.

Later in the day, the Ifo Institute was to publish data on German business climate, while the U.S. was to release data on new homes sales.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger