- European stocks were mixed to lower on Thursday, as markets were jittery ahead of the release of U.S. economic growth data later in the day, although expectations for further easing measures by the European Central Bank continued to support.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.10%, France’s CAC 40 slid 0.31%, while Germany’s DAX edged down 0.11%.

European equities have remained supported since the ECB indicated at its May 8 meeting that it is comfortable with easing monetary policy next month, to help shore up the fragile recovery in the region.

Earlier this week, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank was aware of the risks of persistently low inflation and was prepared to take steps to get euro zone inflation back to its target, the latest indication that the bank is on course to ease monetary policy next week.

The annual rate of euro zone inflation was 0.7% in April, well below the ECB''s target of close to but just below 2%.

Financial stocks were mostly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) declined 0.45% and 0.02%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) dipped 0.05%.

Among peripheral lenders, Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) slipped 0.28% and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) added 0.12% in Italy, while Spain''s BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) fell 0.27% and 0.36%.

Elsewhere, Ubisoft Entertainment (PARIS:UBIP) surged 2.90% after saying its Watch Dogs video game sold more copies in its first 24 hours than any of its previous titles.

In London, FTSE 100 rose 0.23%, supported by gains in Tate & Lyle (LONDON:TATE), up 1.33%, even as the sugar maker reported full-year adjusted pretax profit of £322 million, below the average analyst estimate of £326 million.

Weir Group (LONDON:WEIR) was also sharply higher, rallying 1.74%, after announcing earlier in the week that it abandoned its pursuit of Metso Oyj (HEL:MEO1V). The Finnish company''s management turned down an all-share offer valuing the maker of mining and construction equipment at €4.6 billion euros.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mixed as the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) gained 0.38% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) rose 0.31%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) and Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) lost 0.16% and 0.30% respectively.

In the mining sector, stocks were also mixed. Shares in Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) were up 0.28% and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) advanced 0.31%, while rivals Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) slipped 0.02% and 0.14%.

Elsewhere, Kingfisher (LONDON:KGF) led losses on the index, plummeting 6.06%, after posting annual profit below market projections.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.05% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.02% uptick, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.03% rise.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release revised data on first quarter GDP, as well as the weekly government report on initial jobless claims and data on pending home sales.

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