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European stocks mixed ahead of E.Z. retail sales data; Dax down 0.28%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks were mixed on Wednesday, after a disappointing German factory orders report and as investors remained cautious before the release of euro zone retail sales data later in the trading session.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 dipped 0.05%, France's CAC 40 inched up 0.05%, while Germany's DAX 30 slipped 0.28%.

Earlier Wednesday, official data showed that German factory orders fell 0.9% in February, disappointing expectations for an increase of 1.5%. January's figure was revised to a 2.6% drop from a previously estimated 3.9% slide.

Financial stocks were mixed, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) rose 0.09% and 0.51%, while Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) added 0.09% and Commerzbank (XETRA:CBKG) slipped 0.11% in Germany.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) slid 0.31% and 0.37% respectively, while BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) fell 0.37% and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) edged up 0.11% in Spain.

Elsewhere, Vivendi (PARIS:VIV) gained 0.45% after the French media conglomerate denied reports that it may seek to acquire pay-TV provider Sky Plc (LONDON:SKYB).

Air France added to gains, with shares up 0.67% even as a strike by French air traffic controllers was expected to lead to the cancellation of about 40% of flights in France on Wednesday.

Air France said it will maintain most long-haul flights however.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 advanced 0.61%, led by BG Group (LONDON:BG), whose shares skyrocketed 38.29% after Royal Dutch Shell (LONDON:RDSa) Plc agreed to buy the oil and gas company for £47 billion in cash and stock.

Other energy stocks added to gains, with shares in BP (LONDON:BP) surging 4.30% and rival company Tullow Oil (LONDON:TLW) up 12.12%.

Mining stocks were also on the upside, as Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) climbed 0.64% and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) advanced 0.82%, while Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) jumped 0.96%.

In the financial sector, stocks were mixed. Shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) rose 0.23% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) climbed 0.50%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) and Barclays (LONDON:BARC) slid 0.27% and 0.48% respectively.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.15% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.12% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.09% gain.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to publish data on retail sales. 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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