European stocks were mixed on Friday, as positive Spanish unemployment data supported sentiment, while a disappointing service sector report from China weighed.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 inched up 0.04%, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.27%, while Germany’s DAX 30 added 0.11%.
Official data showed that the number of unemployed people in Spain dropped by 107,600 in December, compared to expectations for a 20,000 rise, after 2,500 decline the previous month.
But markets were jittery after data showed that China''s non-manufacturing purchasing managers'' index fell to 54.6 in December, from a reading of 56.0 the previous month.
The data came a day after a report showed that China’s final HSBC PMI inched down to 50.5 in December from a reading of 50.8 in November.
A government report also showed this week that China’s manufacturing PMI fell to a four-month low of 51.0 last month from 51.4 in November and worse than forecasts for a decline to 51.2.
Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale fell 0.16% and 0.18%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank rose 0.35%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA lost 0.05% and 0.98% respectively, while Italy''s Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo gained 0.37% and 0.53%.
Elsewhere, Remy Cointreau tumbled 1.70% after Frederic Pflanz resigned as chief executive officer.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 edged down 0.06%, weighed by losses in the mining sector.
Shares in Rio Tinto dropped 0.40%, while rivals Glencore Xstrata and Antofagasta plummeted 1.07% and 1.64% respectively.
Meanwhile, financial stocks were mixed as Lloyds Banking slid 0.32% and HSBC Holdings retreated 1.32%, while Barclays inched up 0.03% and the Royal Bank of Scotland added 0.09%.
On the upside, Next led gains on the index, with shares soaring 10.58%, after increasing the profit forecast for its full accounting year and announcing a special dividend.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.06% loss, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.07% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.17% slide.
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