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European stocks decline on mixed data, Ukraine fears; Dax down 0.37%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks were lower on Monday, after the release of mixed manufacturing and services data from Germany and France and as concerns over ongoing tensions in Ukraine continued to weigh on sentiment.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 declined 0.65%, France's CAC 40 retreated 0.55%, while Germany's DAX shed 0.37%.

Markit research group said Germany's preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers' index ticked down to 53.8 in March, from 54.8 in February, compared to expectations for a fall to 54.6.

Germany's flash services PMI fell to 54.0 this month, from a reading of 55.9 in February, confounding expectations for a decline to 55.5.

In France, the preliminary manufacturing PMI rose to a 33-month high of 51.9 in March, from 49.7 in February, compared to expectations for an increase to 49.8.

France's flash services PMI rose to a 26-month high of 51.4 this month, from 47.2 in February, beating expectations for a rise to 47.5.

Meanwhile, investors remained cautious after Reuters reported on Monday that Russian troops were trying to seize a Ukrainian naval base in the disputed Crimea region.

Financial stocks were mixed, as BNP Paribas (BNPP.PAR) edged up 0.14% and Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) dropped 0.77% in France, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) fell 0.18%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) lost 0.04% and 0.26% respectively, while BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) eased 0.07% in Spain.

Elswehere, Nokia Oyj (NOKI.ST) tumbled 1.14% after the Finnish company, which hopes to complete the sale of its mobile-phone division to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), said the €5.44 billion transaction will be delayed until April as Asian regulators review it.

The companies had initially said that the sale would be completed by the end of March.

Adding to losses, KPN (KPN.AMS) plummeted 1.84% after Citigroup lowered the Dutch telecommunications operator to "neutral" from "buy".

In London, FTSE 100 slipped 0.26%, weighed by Centrica Plc (CNA.LSE), down 1.11%, after the Sunday Times reported that the U.K.'s six biggest utilities may be broken up this week.

Meanwhile, financial stocks were mostly higher. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) inched up 0.03% and HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LSE)climbed 0.47%, while Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) jumped 1.14%. Barclays (BARC.LSE) underperformed, declining 0.64%.

In the mining sector, stocks were mixed, with Rio Tinto (RIO.LSE) and Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LSE) adding 0.14% and 0.15%, while Polymetal (POLYP.LSE) and Randgold Resources (RRS.LSE) retreated 0.40% and 1.20% respectively.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.18% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.24% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.30% increase.

Also Monday, the preliminary reading of China's HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to an eight-month low of 48.1 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 48.7.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to release preliminary data on manufacturing and service sector activity. The U.S. was to release preliminary data on manufacturing activity. 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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