Investing.com - European stocks were mixed on Wednesday, as comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen continued to support equity markets, although investors remained cautious ahead of the European Central Bank''s policy meeting on Thursday.
During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.23%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.02%, while Germany’s DAX added 0.19%.
Equitiy markets remained supported after Fed Chair Yellen on Monday said that "considerable slack" still remained in the labor market and reiterated that the Fed’s commitment to economic stimulus will still be needed for some time.
In the euro zone, data on Tuesday showed that the manufacturing sector continued to expand last month, while a separate report showed that the bloc''s unemployment rate was 11.9% in February, compared to expectations for 12.0%.
Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PAR) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) gained 0.45% and 0.27%, while Germany''s Commerzbank (CBKG.XETRA) surged 2.52%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) rose 0.26% and 0.79% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) and Banco Santander (SAN.MADRID) climbed 0.62% and 0.85%.
Elsewhere, Volkswagen (VOWG.XETRA) rallied 1.10% following reports the automaker has applied to set up its first car plant in Thailand to compete with Toyota Motor (7203.TOK) in Southeast Asia.
On the downside, Paris-based Bouygues (BOUY.PAR) slipped 0.13% after saying that an earlier version of its proposal for the acquisition of Vivendi (VIV.PAR)''s SFR unit remains valid along with a subsequently revised offer.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 edged down 0.08%, although sharp gains in mining stocks seemed to limit losses.
Mining giants Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LSE) and Bhp Billiton (BLT.LSE) advanced 0.19% and 0.56%, while rivals Fresnillo (FRES.LSE) and Antofagasta (ANTO.LSE) surged 1.48% and 2.83% respectively.
Also on the upside, Asos (ASOS.LSE) jumped 1.04% after the online fashion retailer posted first-half pretax profit above analysts’ estimates.
In the financial sector, stocks were mostly higher. Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) climbed 0.65% and Barclays (BARC.LSE) gained 0.75%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) rose 0.69%. HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LSE) underperformed on the other hand, slipping 0.11%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.10% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.12% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.20% increase.
Also Wednesday, official data showed that the number of unemployed people in Spain declined by 16,600 in March, confounding expectations for a 5,300 declined, after 1,900 drop the previous month.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the ADP report on private sector job creation, as well as data on factory orders.
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