Investing.com - European stocks remained mixed on Thursday, as markets were still 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 afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 added 0.12%, France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.08%, while Germany’s DAX dipped 0.02%.
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 remained broadly lower, as French lender BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) declined 0.87%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) and Commerzbank (XETRA:CBKG) retreated 0.30% and 2.72%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) fell 0.12% and 0.71% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) dropped 0.80% and 0.93%.
Elsewhere, Ubisoft Entertainment (PARIS:UBIP) surged 3.12% 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 gained 0.40%, led by Tate & Lyle (LONDON:TATE), up 3.85%, 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) also remained sharply higher, rallying 1.24%, 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 turned mostly lower as Barclays (LONDON:BARC) edged down 0.19% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) slipped 0.25%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) declined 0.47%. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) overperformed on the other hand, up 0.49%.
In the mining sector, stocks were still mixed. Shares in Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) rose 0.36% and Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) jumped 1.53%, while rivals Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) slipped 0.09% and 0.10%.
Elsewhere, Kingfisher (LONDON:KGF) continued to lead losses on the index, plummeting 5.87%, after posting annual profit below market projections.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.10% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.08% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.08% 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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