- European stocks slipped lower on Wednesday, after the release of downbeat Spanish service sector activity data, although lowered concerns over tensions between Ukraine and Russia still lent some support.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 edged down 0.14%, France’s CAC 40 shed 0.28%, while Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.19%.

Markit research group said Spain''s services purchasing managers'' index fell to 53.7 in February, from a reading of 54.9 the previous month. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 55.0 last month.

Market sentiment recovered on Tuesday, as the threat of war between Russia and Ukraine eased after Russian President Vladimir Putin said a military deployment in Ukraine is not needed now. Russia’s defense minister also ordered troops engaged in military exercises close to Ukraine’s borders to return to their bases.

But investors still remained cautious with Russian forces still maintaining a military presence in Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale climbed 0.74% and 1.11%, although Germany''s Deutsche Bank dropped 0.50%.

Among peripheral lenders, Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo advanced 0.79% and 1.84% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA gained 0.51% and 0.85%.

Elsewhere, Paris-based Carrefour jumped 1.88% after it reported a 9.8% increase in annual earnings.

On the downside, Adidas slipped 0.25% after saying 2014 will be "significantly impacted" by currency effects, although the sporting-goods maker reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

In London, FTSE 100 fell 0.30%, weighed by losses in Legal & General Group, down 1.81%, after the manager of U.K. pension assets raised its dividend 22% after saying cash flow and operating profit increased.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mostly lower. Lloyds Banking dipped 0.01% and Barclays eased 0.06%, while HSBC Holdings declined 0.42%. The Royal Bank of Scotland overperformed however, edging up 0.09%.

In the mining sector, stocks were mixed as Vedanta Resources rose 0.33% and Glencore Xstrata climbed 0.57%, while Vedanta Resources and Polymetal tumbled 1.64% and 2.25% respectively.

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

Later in the day, the euro zone was to release data on retail sales. The U.S. was to produce the ADP report on private sector job creation, while the Institute for Supply Management was to publish a report service sector activity.

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