Investing.com - European stocks opened lower on Friday, as a meeting of European Union finance ministers was to begin later in the day, while concerns over Syria continued to weigh.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.21%, France’s CAC 40 eased 0.04%, while Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.16%.
Concerns over Syria persisted as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held open talks on disarming Syria's chemical weapons programs, on Thursday.
However, differences emerged at the outset of the negotiations. Commenting on the talks, Kerry said pledges of Syria's regime to give up its chemical arms were "simply not enough."
Markets were also jittery amid uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve will start to unwind its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program at its upcoming policy meeting on September 17-18.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale tumbled 1.15% and 0.95%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank slid 0.38%.
Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander shed 0.31% and 0.43% respectively, while Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit plummeted 0.93% and 1.16%.
Adding to losses, shares in Gerry Weber International dove 10.04% after the German clothier posted third-quarter net income of EUR11.5 million euros, missing the average analyst estimate of EUR12.8 million. The company also cut its full-year forecast.
Elsewhere, Fresenius SE surged 4.46% after the health-care company’s Helios unit agreed to pay Rhoen-Klinikum EUR3.07 billion for 43 hospitals in Germany, creating Europe’s largest chain of private hospitals.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 edged down 0.17%, weighed by losses in mining stocks.
Glencore Xstrata tumbled 1.32% and Anglo American retreated 1.62%, while Randgold Resources and Polymetal plunged 2.25% and 3.32% respectively.
Meanwhile, financial stocks were mixed, as shares in Barclays slid 0.34% and Lloyds Banking lost 1.21%, while HSBC Holdings and the Royal Bank of Scotland gained 0.28% and 1.33%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.01% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.06% slip, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.07% gain.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release reports on retail sales and producer price inflation, as well as preliminary data from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment.