- European stocks were mostly higher on Thursday, as Wednesday''s downbeat economic reports fuelled expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep rates hold for longer.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 0.01%, France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.15%, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.22%.

The Commerce Department on Wednesday said U.S. gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first three months of the year, compared to the consensus forecast for a decline of 1.7%.

U.S. first quarter GDP was initially reported to have increased by 0.1%, but was subsequently revised to show a contraction of 1.0%.

The difference between the second and third estimate was the largest since records began in 1976, the Commerce Department said.

Financial stocks were mixed, as Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) dipped 0.04% and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) added 0.15% in France, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) dropped 0.82%.

Bloomberg reported earlier that BNP Paribas is close to an agreement with New York state’s top banking regulator that would curtail some of its dollar-clearing operations for as long as a year.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) added 0.04% and 0.13% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) slipped 0.05% and 0.35%.

Elsewhere, Austria-based Ams (SIX:AMS) surged 6.80% amid reports it is in merger talks with Dialog Semiconductor (XETRA:DLGS), up 7.50%, to create a European chipmaker with a combined market value of about $5 billion.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 added 0.18%, supported by gains in the mining sector.

Shares in Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) climbed 0.63% and Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) advanced 0.91%, while rivals Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) and Antofagasta (LONDON:ANTO) rallied 1.65% and 1.70% respectively.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mostly lower, as Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) dipped 0.05% and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) retreated 0.43%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) saw shares plunge 4.49% after the New York Attorney General said it was suing the U.K. lender over claims it deceived investors about using "dark pools".

The bank pulled a $1.5 billion bond offering following the news.

HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) overperformed on the other hand, gaining 0.42%.

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

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on personal income and expenditure, as well as data on inflation linked to personal spending.

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