European stocks turn lower in cautious trade; Dax down 0.18%

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Investing.com - European stocks turned broadly lower on Wednesday, as investors remained cautious although sentiment remained supported after the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday raised its forecast for global economic growth.

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.22%, France's CAC 40 shed 0.22%, while Germany's DAX 30 slipped 0.18%.

On Tuesday, the IMF raised its forecast for global economic growth, but also warned that the pace of the recovery will remain "weak and uneven"

The IMF said it expects the global economy to grow by 3.7% in 2014, which in October it said would expand by 3.6% this year.

Investors still remained cautious amid expectations for a reduction to the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program at the outcome of its next policy meeting on January 29 to USD65 billion from the current USD75 billion.

Financial stocks were erased earlier gains, as French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale slipped 0.10% and 0.36%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank retreated 0.72%.

Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA lost 1.04% and 1.42% respectively, while Italy's Unicredit tumbled 1.32%.

Elsewhere, ASML Holding surged 7.04% after forecasting first-quarter sales that trailed analysts' estimates.

Adding to gains, Rautaruukki Oyj saw shares skyrocket 28.81% after SSAB, Austria's third biggest lender, said it plans to buy the Finnish steelmaker.

In London, FTSE 100 fell 0.10%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts lower and after data showed that the U.K. unemployment rate fell to 7.1% in November, raising questions over the Bank of England's forward guidance on rates.

In addition, the minutes of the BoE's January meeting said the unemployment rate will hit the 7% threshold "materially earlier" than forecast, but reiterated that policymakers saw no immediate need to raise rates even if the threshold is reached in the near future.

Shares in Lloyds Banking and HSBC Holdings declined 0.35% and 0.57%, while Barclays tumbled 1.04% and the Royal Bank of Scotland plummeted 3.45%.

Meanwhile, mining stocks held earlier gains, as Glencore Xstrata climbed 0.55%, while Randgold Resources and Vedanta Resources rallied 1.79% and 1.80% respectively.

BHP Billiton underperformed however, down 1.15%, after saying that iron-ore output rose to 48.9 million metric tons in the second quarter, from 42.2 million tons a year earlier, still missing the 49.3 million-ton analysts' estimate.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.29% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.16% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.09% downtick.

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