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European stocks pause after 2-day rally; Dax down 0.07%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks were steady to lower on Wednesday, pausing after the recent upward trend due to growing expectations for the European Central Bank to implement additional easing measures to bolster growth.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 dipped 0.04%, France's CAC 40 inched 0.03% lower, while Germany's DAX eased 0.07%.

Last week, data showed that the euro zone economy stagnated in the second quarter, adding to fears that the recovery in the region is running out of steam.

The weak report added to pressure on the ECB to implement fresh measure to shore up growth after it cut rates to record lows in June.

Financial stocks were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) slid 0.33% and 0.34%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) fell 0.20%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) edged down 0.14% and 0.22% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) slipped 0.12% and 0.15%.

Elsewhere, Carlsberg (COP:CARLa) plummeted 2.21% after the brewer said its 2014 operating profit would decline compared to 2013, due to recent events in Russia, which generates approximately 35% of its profits.

In the same sector, Heineken (AMS:HEIN) surged 6.75% after reporting first-half profit that exceeded analysts' estimates.

In London, FTSE 100 fell 0.10%, weighed by Balfour Beatty (LONDON:BALF), down 5.52%, after the U.K. builder rejected a new merger bid by Carillion (LONDON:CLLN), which valued the company at £2.1 billion.

Mining stocks added to losses, as Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) shed 0.35% and Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) dropped 0.59%, while rival Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) retreated 0.56%. Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) overperformed however, adding 0.25%, after saying it plans to start a $1 billion share buyback.

The company also reported that first-half profit climbed 8%, helped by higher production of copper, coal and oil.

In the financial sector, stocks were mostly higher. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) inched up 0.06% and Barclays (LONDON:BARC) added 0.14%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) rose 0.44%. HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) saw shares decline 0.69% on the other hand.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.01% gain, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.03% rise, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.01% uptick.

Later in the day, the Bank of England was to publish the minutes of its latest policy meeting. 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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