Investing.com - European stocks were lower on Wednesday, after the release of downbeat German and French economic reports and as concerns over ongoing violence in Ukraine continued to weigh on market sentiment.
During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 shed 0.39%, France's CAC 40 declined 0.39%, while Germany's DAX slipped 0.25%.
Data earlier showed that German factory orders slumped 2.8% in March from a year earlier, confounding expectations for a 0.3% increase.
A separate report showed that French industrial production dropped 0.7% in March, confounding expectations for a 0.2% rise and following a 0.1% uptick in February.
Meanwhile, markets were jittery as violence flared overnight in the eastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol, where one person was killed and three wounded in an attack on a checkpoint.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would meet ministers in Europe next week to discuss the next steps to take on the Ukrainian crisis.
Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) retreated 0.81% and 1.74%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) declined 0.67%.
Earlier in the day, Societe Generale reported a 13% drop in first-quarter profit after writing down goodwill at its Russian unit, while Credit Agricole (PARIS:CAGR), France's third biggest bank, said profit climbed 85% in the first quarter.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) slid 0.63% and 1.06% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) shed 0.46% and 0.49% respectively.
Elsewhere, Veolia Environnement (PARIS:VIE) reported a 7.3% decline in first-quarter profit, affected by a mild European winter, sending shares in the water company down 1.35%.
On the upside, Spanish oil producer Repsol (MADRID:REP) gained 0.54% after selling a 12% stake in Argentina's YPF (BA:YPFD) for $1.26 billion.
In London, FTSE 100 slid 0.33%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts lower.
Shares in Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) tumbled 1.23% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) lost 1.36%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) plummeted 2.14%. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) overperformed on the other hand, adding 0.16%.
Mining stocks added to losses, as Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) dropped 0.46% and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) declined 1.03%, while rival Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) plunged 1.46%.
Meanwhile, Legal & General (LONDON:LGEN) was one of the top performers on the index, surging 2.20%, after the insurer and fund manager said cash generation increased 21% on the year to £301 million in the first quarter.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately lower open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.09% loss, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.07% slip, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.21% fall.
Later in the day, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was to testify before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, in Washington.
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