Investing.com - European stocks were lower on Friday, despite upbeat data from Spain and Germany as comments by Federal Reserve officials weighed on market sentiment.
During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 slid 0.29%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.52%, while Germany's DAX 30 fell 0.32%.
Investors shrugged off a report by Markit research group showing that Spain's service sector purchasing managers' index improved to 44.3 in December from a reading of 42.4 the previous month, beating expectations for a rise to 42.8.
The report came after official data showed that retail sales in Germany rose by 1.2% in November, beating expectations for a 0.8% increase, after a 1.3% decline the previous month.
Investors remained cautious after the minutes of the Fed's December policy meeting showed that officials began debating an end to bond-buying as early as this year even while preparing to boost stimulus to a new record.
Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders Societe Generale and BNP Paribas dropped 0.30% and 0.38%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank advanced 0.35% and 0.27% respectively.
Elsewhere, Sonova Holding, the Swiss maker of hearing health-care products, surged 3.66% after Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 slipped 0.12%, weighed by losses in moning stocks, while data showed that U.K. service sector activity entered contraction territory in December.
Fresnillo, the world's biggest primary silver producer, dove 6.05% after UBS downgraded the shares to neutral from buy, while mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton tumbled 1.69% and 1.45%.
Copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys were also on the downside, with shares sliding 0.93% and 2.18%.
Meanwhile, financial stocks were broadly lower. HSBC Holdings slipped 0.14% and Lloyds Banking edged down 0.28%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays declined 0.44% and 0.39%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.04% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.04% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.09% rise.
Also Friday, preliminary data showed that consumer price inflation in the euro zone remained unchanged at an annualized rated of 2.2% last month. Analysts had expected consumer price inflation to tick down to 2.1% in December.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce official data on nonfarm payrolls and the overall unemployment rate. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management was to release a report on service sector activity.
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