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European stocks mixed as focus remains on Greece; Dax down 0.13%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks were mixed on Thursday, as the previous session's euro zone manufacturing data continued to support, while developments on the Greek debt front remained in focus.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 eased 0.07%, France's CAC 40 edged up 0.11%, while Germany's DAX 30 slipped 0.13%.

European equities found support after data on Wednesday showing manufacturing activity across the euro zone grew at the fastest pace since last May in March indicated that the recovery in the region is continuing to gain traction.

Research firm Markit said the euro zone manufacturing purchasing managers' index rose to a 10-month high of 52.2, higher than the preliminary reading of 51.9.

Investors remained cautious however amid concerns over whether Greece can reach a compromise with its creditors in time to unlock more bailout funds before it runs out of cash in three weeks, as negotiations over economic reforms dragged on.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) gained 0.25% and 0.46%, while Germany's Commerzbank (XETRA:CBKG) advanced 0.67%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) rose 0.06% and 0.43% respectively. Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) underperformed however, slipping 0.06% and 0.09%.

Elsewhere, Dutch telecom company KPN NV rallied 1.82% after saying it received interest from several parties about the acquisition of its Belgian mobile-phone business Base.

In London, FTSE 100 rose 0.25%, supported by gains in the financial sector.

Shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) added 0.32% and 0.38% respectively, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) climbed 0.50%. Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) underperformed however, retreating 0.48%.

Marks & Spencer Group (LONDON:MKS) Plc added to gains, as shares surged 4.62% after the retailer said sales at its general-merchandise unit rose for the first time since 2011.

Meanwhile, mining stocks were mixed on the commodity-heavy index. Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) edged 0.11% lower and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) declined 0.79%, while Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) gained 0.62% and Fresnillo (LONDON:FRES) jumped 1%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.25% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.31% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.40% loss.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release data on the trade balance, as well as on initial jobless claims and factory orders. 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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