- European stocks were mixed to higher on Tuesday, after the release of downbeat German economic sentiment data and as concerns over ongoing tensions in Iraq continued to weigh.

During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 0.05%, France’s CAC 40 edged 0.17% higher, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.20%.

The ZEW Institute said the German economic sentiment index fell to an 18-month low of 29.8 this month, from a reading of 33.1 in May, compared to expectations for a rise to 35.0.

For the entire euro zone, the ZEW economic sentiment index rose to 58.4 in June, from a reading of 55.2 in May, confounding expectations for an increase to 59.6.

Meanwhile, concerns over the ongoing Sunni insurgency in Iraq continued to weigh on market sentiment, amid fears over the impact of higher oil prices on global economic growth.

Financial stocks remained broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) gained 0.65% and 0.64%, while Germany''s Commerzbank (XETRA:CBKG) added 0.13%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) rose 0.37% and 1.46% respectively, while Spanish bank Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) climbed 0.39%.

Elsewhere, Siemens (XETRA:SIEGn) advanced 0.61% as French President Francois Hollande was set to meet with the German company''s President, Joe Kaeser, and with Shunishi Miyanaga, CEO of Japan''s Mitsubishi (TOKYO:8058) later in the day.

Both companies presented a joint offer to France''s Alstom (PARIS:ALSO) on Monday that included a €7 billion cash element, competing with a rival offer by General Electric (NYSE:GE).

In London, FTSE 100 inched up 0.05%, still led by Shire (LONDON:SHP), up 3%, amid reports the pharmaceutical company has hired Citigroup ahead of potential takeover offers.

Whitbread (LONDON:WTB) wasn''t far behind, with shares rallying 2.96%, after it said that sales at its Premier Inn hotels and Costa Coffee chain exceeded analysts'' estimates.

Meanwhile, financial stocks turned mostly higher as Barclays (LONDON:BARC) added 0.15% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) gained 0.40%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) jumped 1.35%. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) underperformed however, slipping 0.15%.

In the mining sector, stocks were mixed. Shares in Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) fell 0.23% and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) tumbled 1.07%, while Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) rose 0.36% and Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) climbed 0.82%.

Also in the U.K., official data showed that the rate of consumer price inflation rose 1.5% last month, slowing from 1.8% in April and hitting the lowest level since October 2009, compared to expectations for a reading of 1.7%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.27% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.23% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.29% gain.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce data on housing starts, building permits and consumer prices.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger