- European stocks were lower on Thursday, after the release of downbeat industrial production data from France and as the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting gave little indication of when interest rates could start to rise.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 retreated 0.43%, France’s CAC 40 shed 0.33%, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.27%.

Official data earlier showed that French industrial production dropped 1.7% in May, confounding expectations for a 0.2% rise, after a 0.3% increase the previous month.

Markets were also jittery after the minutes of the Fed''s June meeting revealed little new information on when the bank could start to hike rates. The central bank acknowledged that the economy is continuing to improve but officials remain divided over the outlook for inflation.

The minutes did show however that officials agreed to end the bank’s asset purchase program in October.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) tumbled 0.95% and 1.06%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) retreated 0.82%.

Reuters reported earlier in the day that Commerzbank (XETRA:CBKG), down 1.31%, could pat $600 million to $800 million to settle a probe into its dealings with countries under U.S. economic sanctions.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) dropped 0.68% and 0.97% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) declined 0.73% and 1.37%.

Elsewhere, Skanska (ST:SKAb) saw shares plunge 2.79% after the Swedish construction company said it will "significantly" scale down operations in Latin America after booking 500 million kronor in project writedowns and restructuring costs.

In London, FTSE 100 dipped 0.06%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts lower and markets eyed the Bank of England''s monthly policy statement due later in the day.

Shares in Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) slipped 0.23% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) shed 0.38%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) and Barclays (LONDON:BARC) declined 0.43% and 0.77% respectively.

Mining stocks added to losses, as Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) edged down 0.25% and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) fell 0.26%, while Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) slipped 0.21% and Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) tumbled 1%.

Meanwhile, Burberry (LONDON:BRBY) led gains on the index, with shares surging 4.02%, after the luxury-goods maker reported first-quarter revenue that exceeded analysts'' estimates.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.23% loss, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.24% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.21% slip.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the weekly government report on initial jobless claims.

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