- European stocks were steady on Friday, as the previous day''s dovish comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi continued to weigh, while investors eyed U.S. employment data later in the day.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 slipped 0.12%, France’s CAC 40 edged down 0.08%, while Germany’s DAX 30 dipped 0.03%.

On Thursday, ECB President Draghi said the euro zone will not slide into deflation. Draghi said the ECB sees a protracted period of low inflation, not full blown deflation, reiterating that the bank is “monitoring developments closely".

The remarks came after the ECB voted to leave interest rates across the euro zone unchanged at their record low of 0.25%.

Meanwhile, markets were eyeing U.S. employment data to be released later in the trading session, for more indications on the strength of the labor market''s recovery.

Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale added 0.14% and 0.55%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank slipped 0.27%.

Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA declined 0.73% and 0.80% respectively, while Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit jumped 1% and 2.50%.

Elsewhere, ArcelorMittal surged 3.15% after the steelmaker reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

Statoil ASA tumbled 1.69% as Norway’s national oil company posted quarterly profit that dropped 27%, falling short of analysts’ projections.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 inched up 0.05%, supported by gains in the mining sector.

Shares in Rio Tinto and Glencore Xstrata rallied 0.93% and 0.98% respectively, while rivals Randgold Resources and Vedanta Resources advanced 1.08% and 4.80%.

In the financial sector, stocks were also mostly higher, as Lloyds Banking added 0.27% and the Royal Bank of Scotland gained 0.36%, while Barclays climbed 0.58%. HSBC Holdings underperformed however, down 0.35%.

On the downside, Vodafone Group retreated 0.51% after the company''s USD1.6 billion plan to buy out the local partners in its Indian unit won government approval.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.14% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.17% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.28% increase.

Later in the day, Germany was to publish reports on industrial production, while the U.S. was to release data on nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate.

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