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European stocks pare gains after weak ZEW reports; Dax up 0.62%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks pared gains on Tuesday, after the release of disappointing economic sentiment data from the euro zone, although speculation over additional easing measures by the European Central Bank continued to support.

During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.21%, France's CAC 40 added 0.20%, while Germany's DAX climbed 0.62%.

In a report, the ZEW Institute said its index of German economic sentiment fell to a 16-month low of 33.1 this month, from a reading of 43.2 in April, compared to expectations for a decline to 41.0.

The Zew Institute also said that its economic sentiment index for the entire euro zone ticked down to 55.2 in May, from a reading of 61.2 the previous month. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 63.5 this month.

European equities had found support after the ECB indicated last week that it could begin to ease monetary policy as soon as its next meeting in June, to combat persistently low inflation in the euro zone.

But investors remained cautious after pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk formally asked the Moscow to annex the region like it did with Crimea.

Financial stocks remained mixed, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) declined 0.68% and 0.78%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) climbed 0.58%.

Societe Generale announced earlier that it will seek to increase return on equity, a measure of profitability, to more than 10% by 2016.

Among peripheral lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) tumbled 1.13% and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) added 0.16% in Italy, while BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) slipped 0.13% and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) rose 0.34% in Spain.

Elsewhere, Thyssenkrupp (XETRA:TKAG) said 2014 profit will almost double from last year, sending shares up 5.75%. The German steelmaker also said first-quarter earnings rose to €269 million from a loss of €129 million a year earlier.

Airbus Group (PARIS:AIR) added to gains, surging 6.12%, as the French planemaker reported that first-quarter earnings fell to €700 million euros in the first quarter, still beating the €659 million average estimate.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 edged up 0.16%, still supported by the mining sector.

Shares in Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) jumped 1.56% and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) rallied 1.59%, while rival company Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) surged 2.04%.

In the financial sector, stocks turned mixed. HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) edged up 0.16% and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) advanced 0.64%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) and Barclays (LONDON:BARC) lost 0.41% and 1.25% respectively.

Earlier Tuesday, the Royal Bank of Scotland said its Citizens Financial Group filed for a $100 million IPO in New York.

Meanwhile, EasyJet (LONDON:EZJ) remained the worst performer on the index, down 4.77%, after the airline carrier said its half-year loss shrank more than expected.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.18% increase, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.15% rise, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.16% gain.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce data on retail sales, as well as reports on import prices and business inventories. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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