- European stocks were steady to lower in light trade on Monday, as data showing that growth in China continued to slow in the last quarter weighed on market sentiment.

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 dipped 0.05%, France’s CAC 40 inched 0.06% lower, while Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.22%.

A report earlier showed that China’s economy grew 7.7% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, slowing from 7.8% in the previous quarter, but still above the 7.6% forecast by economists.

Meanwhile, a string of positive U.S. data last week indicated that while the recovery in the U.S. remains uneven, the economic outlook is continuing to improve, adding to expectations for the Federal Reserve to continue tapering its stimulus program.

Financial stocks remained broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale slid 0.24% and 0.57%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank plunged 4.24% after saying it posted a surprise pre-tax loss of EUR1.153 billion for the fourth quarter.

Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA dropped 0.56% and 0.67% respectively, while Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit declined 0.49% and 1.39%.

Elsewhere, Peugeot Citroen saw shares dive 5.79%, weighed by a 4.9% decline in annual unit sales and reports on its EUR3 billion capital increase.

On the upside, Anheuser-Busch InBev jumped 0.94% after agreeing to pay USD5.8 billion to buy back South Korea’s Oriental Brewery.

In London, FTSE 100 inched up 0.05%, although gains remained capped by losses in the financial sector.

Shares in Lloyds Banking shed 0.34% and HSBC Holdings retreated 0.64%, while Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland tumbled 1.62% and 2.49% respectively.

In the mining sector, stocks turned broadly higher. Glencore Xstrata added 0.13% and Vedanta Resources gained 2.26%, while rivals Randgold Resources and Fresnillo surged 2.29% and 4.37%.

Meanwhile, shares in Rolls-Royce edged lower, down 0.08%, after the Financial Times reported that the U.K. Serious Fraud Office received additional funding from the country''s Treasury to continue its probe of alleged bribery and corruption by the luxury automaker in China and Indonesia.

In the U.S., markets were to remain closed for the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

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