Investing.com

Investing.com - European stocks were lower on Wednesday, as investors awaited the release of highly anticipated euro zone inflation data later in the trading session, as well as the Federal Reserve''s upcoming policy statement.



During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.31%, France’s CAC 40 slid 0.30%, while Germany’s DAX edged down 0.08%.



Markets were jittery after subdued German inflation data added to pressure on the European Central Bank to take steps to tackle low inflation in the euro zone.



German consumer prices fell 0.2% this month, and increased 1.3% on a year-over-year basis, compared to forecasts for an annual increase of 1.4%.



The annual rate of inflation in the euro zone slowed to a record low 0.5% in March. The ECB targets an inflation rate of close to but just under 2%. The ECB targets an inflation rate of close to but just under 2%.



Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PARIS) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PARIS) dropped 3.58% and 0.80%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) declined 0.72%.



Bloomberg reported earlier that Credit Suisse (CSGN.SIX), down 0.21%, and BNP Paribas are at risk of being criminally charged by U.S. prosecutors. Credit Suisse is being investigated for having potentially helped Americans evade taxes, while the French bank has possibly violated sanctions barring business with prohibited countries.



Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) retreated 0.42% and 0.44% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (SAN.MADRID) and BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) lost 0.18% and 1.43%.



On the upside, German automaker Volkswagen (VOWG.XETRA) gained 0.47% after extending the offer period for its €6.7 billion bid for the rest of Scania (SCVAs.BS), as too few minority shareholders agreed to sell their shares.



In London, FTSE 100 eased 0.05%, weighed by Admiral (ADML.LONDON), down 3.81%, after the stock had its "underperform" rating reiterated by BNP Paribas.



Meanwhile, financial stocks were steady to lower as Barclays (BARC.LONDON) and Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LONDON) inched up 0.03% and 0.05% respectively, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LONDON) dropped 0.50% and HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LONDON) tumbled 1.19%.



In the mining sector, stocks were mixed. Shares in Rio Tinto (RIO.LONDON) slid 0.31% and Bhp Billiton (BLT.LONDON) retreated 0.57%, while rivals Fresnillo (FRES.LONDON) and Randgold Resources (RRS.LONDON) gained 0.35% and 0.49% respectively.



In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.14% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.22% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.37% decline.



Later in the day, the euro zone was to release preliminary data on consumer price inflation. The U.S. was to release preliminary data on first quarter gross domestic product, as well as the ADP report on private sector job creation and data on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region.





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