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European stocks decline after weak German data; Dax down 0.03%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks were lower on Friday, after the release of downbeat German data and as investors turned their attention to next week's European Central Bank policy meeting amid growing speculation over additional easing measures.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.20%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.56%, while Germany's DAX dipped 0.03%.

Official data earlier showed that German retail sales fell 0.9% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.4% rise, after a 0.1% uptick in April, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 0.7% fall.

Meanwhile, european equities have remained supported since the ECB indicated at its May 8 meeting that it is comfortable with easing monetary policy next month, to help shore up the fragile recovery in the region.

Earlier in the week, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank was aware of the risks of persistently low inflation and was prepared to take steps to get euro zone inflation back to its target, the latest indication that the bank is on course to ease monetary policy next week.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) plunged 5.74% and 2.12%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) declined 0.65%.

Societe Generale was hit following reports the bank's Russian unit posted a decline in first-quarter profit, while U.S. authorities were said to be seeking more than $10 billion from the BNP Paribas to settle investigations into dealings with sanctioned countries.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) retreated 0.51%, while Spain's BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) slid 0.32% and 0.58% respectively.

Elsewhere, Siemens (XETRA:SIEGn) gained 0.62% after Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said the engineering company will cut at least 11,600 jobs in an attemp to reduce about €1 billion in costs.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 edged down 0.19%, weoghed by sharp losses in the mining sector.

Shares in Randgold Resources (LONDON:RRS) tumbled 1.15% and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) lost 1.86%, while Fresnillo (LONDON:FRES) and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) plummeted 2.19% and 2.43% respectively.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mixed. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) added 0.16% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) edged up 0.14%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) rose 0.30%. Barclays (LONDON:BARC) underperformed however, down 0.44%.

Associated British Foods (LONDON:ABF) led gains on the index, jumping 1.06%, after the stock had its "equal weight" rating reiterated by Barclays earlier in the week.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately lower open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.07% loss, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.13% fall, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.10% loss.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release a report on personal income and expenditure, as well as revised data from the University of Michigan on consumer sentiment. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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