European stocks hold steady, easing hopes still support; Dax up 0.04%

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Investing.com - European stocks were steady on Wednesday, recovering from Tuesday's strong rally in global equities, while expectations for further easing measures by the European Central Bank continued to support.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 eased 0.07%, France's CAC 40 dipped 0.06%, while Germany's DAX inched up 0.04%.

European equities strengthened after reports on Tuesday that Germany's Bundesbank is open to more stimulus measures from the ECB.

The Wall Street Journal reported the German central bank would back monetary easing measures if they were needed to keep persistently low levels of inflation from becoming entrenched in the euro zone.

The news came after the ECB indicated last week that it is "comfortable" with acting at its next meeting in June after it has a chance to review the latest economic projections.

Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) declined 0.49% and 0.55%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) rose 0.21%.

Among peripheral lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) slipped 0.13% and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) added 0.20% in Italy, while Spain's BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) fell 0.23% and 0.27% respectively.

Elsewhere, RWE (XETRA:RWEG) gained 0.76% even as the German power producer said first-quarter profit dropped 36%.

Allianz (XETRA:ALVG) added to gains, up 0.58%, after the Munich-based insurer said profit at its asset management unit declined by 29%, fueling a decline in total earnings.

In London, FTSE 100 slipped 0.17%, led by ITV (LONDON:ITV), whose shares plummeted 4.29% even as the company said total revenues rose in the first quarter and that it expects advertising revenue to climb 12% to 13% in the second quarter.

ICAP (LONDON:IAP) was also on the downside, tumbling 1.61%, as the world's biggest broker of transactions between banks reported full-year operating profit of £295 million, missing expectations for £304.5 million.

In the mining sector, stocks were mostly lower as Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) eased 0.03% and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) fell 0.21%, while Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) and Randgold Resources (LONDON:RRS) retreated 1.84% and 1.94% respectively.

Earlier Wednesday, Bhp Billiton said it was considering selling all or part of its Australian nickel unit, in the face of rising prices.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mixed. Shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) slid 0.30% and Barclays (LONDON:BARC) lost 0.63%, while HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) edged up 0.15% and Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) gained 0.58%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.02% uptick, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.04% gain, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.08% rise.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to produce data on industrial production, while the U.S. was to release data on producer price inflation.

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