Investing.com - European stocks remained mostly higher on Wednesday, after positive Spanish unemployment data as markets were eyeing the European Central Bank''s monthly policy meeting on Thursday.
During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 added 0.14%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.03%, while Germany’s DAX rose 0.20%.
Official data earlier showed that the number of unemployed people in Spain declined by 122,700 last month, compared to expectations for a 97,300 fall, after a drop of 111,900 in May.
Markets were jittery amid concerns the ECB could voice worries over the euro''s strength at its post-policy meeting press conference on Thursday, amid fears over persistently low levels of inflation in the euro zone.
On Monday, preliminary data showed that the annual rate of inflation in the euro zone remained unchanged at 0.5% in June. It was the ninth consecutive month in which the inflation rate was below 1%. The ECB targets an inflation rate of close to but just under 2.0%.
Financial stocks were mixed, as French lender Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) gained 0.45%, while Commerzbank (XETRA:CBKG) rose 0.22% and Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) slid 0.36% in Germany.
BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP), down 0.02%, was still under pressure after the bank agreed on Monday to plead guilty to U.S. sanctions violations and pay $8.97 billion.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy''s Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) jumped 0.90% and 1.10% respectively, while BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) gained 0.37% and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) dipped 0.02% in Spain.
Elsewhere, Orange (PARIS:ORAN) saw shares plummet 3.01% after saying it examined possibilities for taking part in market consolidation and found that they don’t meet its conditions.
On the upside, BMW (XETRA:BMWG) gained 0.92% following reports the automaker said it will invest about $1 billion in a new factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
In London, FTSE 100 gained 0.32%, still supported by Ashtead, up 1.70%, after it received a "buy" rating from the twelve analysts that are currently covering the stock.
Mining stocks continued to add to gains, as Fresnillo (LONDON:FRES) rose 0.39% and Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) advanced 0.53%, while Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) climbed 0.55% and 1% respectively.
Financial stocks also remained mostly higher, as Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) edged up 0.07% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) added 0.34%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) gained 0.50%. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) underperformed however, down 0.06%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.09% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.09% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.11% increase.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the ADP report on private sector job creation, as well as data on factory orders.