Investing.com - European stocks were mixed to higher on Friday, as investors were eyeing the release of highly anticipated euro zone inflation data later in the trading session, although sustained concerns over tensions between Russia and Ukraine were expected to limit gains.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 inched up 0.04%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.17%, while Germany’s DAX 30 rose 0.34%.
Market participants were eyeing euro zone inflation data due later in the day, as it was likely to give further indications on whether the European Central Bank will cut interest rates at its policy meeting next week.
But investors remained cautious amid tensions in Crimea, after armed men seized the local parliament on Thursday and raised the Russian flag.
The events occurred after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered 150,000 Russian troops to begin military exercises in central and western Russia, near the border with Ukraine.
Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale gained 0.08% and 0.66%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank slipped 0.23%.
Among peripheral lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit fell 0.18% and 0.56% respectively, while in Spain, Banco Santander added 0.24% and BBVA shed 0.22%.
Elsewhere, Belgacom edged down 0.18% after the Belgian telecoms operator said it plans to lower its dividend for the next three years, after forecasting a drop in 2014 core profit.
In London, FTSE 100 dipped 0.04%, although losses were limited Old Mutual, up 3.76%, after the company bought the network Intrinsic in a move that will reportedly add 3,00 restricted and independent advisers to the group and broaden its distribution.
Meanwhile, financial stocks were mostly lower. Shares in Barclays eased 0.04% and HSBC Holdings retreated 0.49%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland plummeted 1.90%. Lloyds Banking overperformed however, rising 0.25%.
Mining stocks were also on the downside, as BHP Billiton dropped 0.70% Rio Tinto tumbled 1.19%, while Glencore Xstrata declined 0.55% and Polymetal lost 1.31%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.06% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.08% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.14% fall.
Later in the day, the euro zone was to release preliminary data on consumer inflation and a separate report on the unemployment rate across the currency bloc.
The U.S. was to release revised data on fourth quarter growth, as well as a report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region, revised data on consumer sentiment and private sector data on pending home sales.