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European stocks little changed ahead of German, U.S. data; Dax up 0.03%

Published 12/07/2012, 03:55 AM
Updated 12/07/2012, 03:56 AM
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Investing.com - European stocks were little changed on Friday, as investors awaited the release of economic data from Germany and the U.S., while comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday weighed on investor confidence.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 eased up 0.02%, France’s CAC 40 edged 0.07% higher, while Germany’s DAX 30 inched up 0.03%.

Markets were jittery after ECB President Draghi on Thursday said the bank now expects the euro zone economy to contract by between 0.4% and 0.6% this year and to shrink by 0.3% to 0.9% in 2013. The ECB expects the euro zone economy to return to growth only in 2014, expanding between 0.2% and 2.2%.

Draghi’s comments came after the ECB left rates on hold at a record low 0.75% earlier, in a widely anticipated decision.

Sentiment was also hit after the Bundesbank cut its 2013 growth projection to 0.4% from the 1.6% predicted in June and said the German economy will grow 0.7% this year, down from its previous forecast of 1%.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as shares in French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale slipped 0.20% and 0.17%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank dropped 0.49% and 0.57% respectively.

The telecom sector was also in focus, as France-based Alcatel-Lucent plunged 2.15% on reports it will be removed from the CAC 40 effective December 24. Gemalto will replace Alcatel on the benchmark measure.

Deutsche Telekom added to losses, with shares tumbling 2.26%, after Germany’s biggest phone company said it will pay a dividend of 50 euro cents per share in 2013 and 2014, down from the 70 cents pledged this year.

In London, FTSE 100 dipped 0.04%, as markets awaited an upcoming U.K. manufacturing production report.

U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts lower, as shares in Barclays inched down 0.03% and the Royal Bank of Scotland fell 0.25%, while HSBC Holdings retreated 0.85%. Lloyds Banking overperformed on the other hand, easing up 0.09%.

Meanwhile, mining stocks were mixed. Giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton added 0.01% and 0.42% respectively, while copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys declined 0.29% and 0.81%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.05% loss, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.11% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.19% decline.

Later in the day, Germany was to release official data on industrial production, while ECB President Draghi was to speak at an event in Budapest.

The U.S. was to produce official data on nonfarm payrolls, as well as data on the overall unemployment rate. In addition, the University of Michigan was to release preliminary data on consumer sentiment.


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