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

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Shutterstock photo - European stocks were lower on Tuesday, as renewed concerns over U.S. debt ceiling negotiations weighed, although Monday's comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke lent some support to market sentiment.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.25%, France's CAC 40 inched 0.01% lower, while Germany's DAX 30 slipped 0.18%.

In a speech on the economy and monetary policy on Monday, Fed Chairman Bernanke said that he was still unsatisfied with the economy's progress, despite some recent signs of improvement.

Earlier Monday, the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank said he expected the Fed to continue its bond buying program "well into the second half of 2013."

But investors remained cautious, as negotiations on raising the U.S. debt ceiling were coming up in February.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as shares in French lenders Societe Generale and BNP Paribas tumbled 1.64% and 1.91%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank retreated 1.33% and 1.62% respectively.

Peripheral lenders added to losses, with Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander sliding 0.39% and 2.72%, while Italy's Unicredit edged down 0.14%.

Elsewhere, Air Liquide dropped 0.95% and engineering company Linde declined 0.77% after both groups had their recommendations cut to underperform from neutral at Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit.

In London, FTSE 100 dipped 0.07%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts lower.

Shares in HSBC Holdings fell 0.14% and Lloyds Banking retreated 0.33%, while Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland tumbled 0.78% and 1.12%.

ARM Holdings, whose chips power Apple's iPhones, was also on the downside, plunging 4.27%, as the stock was cut to equal weight at Morgan Stanley.

Mining stocks trended higher on the other hand, as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto advanced 1.04% and 1.84%, while copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys jumped 0.81% and 1.34% respectively.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.07 dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.12% fall, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.08% loss.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to produce official data on the trade balance.

The U.S. is to publish government data on retail sales, as well as official data on producer price inflation and manufacturing activity in New York state. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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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