Forexpros - European stock markets were mixed on Thursday, paring earlier gains as shares in French lenders extended losses from the previous day, amid growing concerns that the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis could spread to the region's banking sector.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.5%, France's CAC 40 shed 0.25%, while Germany's DAX 30 rose 0.7%.
European equities were significantly off their earlier highs, as fears over the region's ongoing sovereign debt crisis continued to weigh on sentiment.
Shares in major French lenders erased gains from earlier in the session, to trade sharply lower.
Societe Generale, which at one point saw shares trade 5.5% higher, tumbled 4.5%. Rivals BNP Paribas saw shares drop 5.1%, while Credit Agricole surrendered a 6.5% gain to trade down 1%.
The reversal in French banks also weighed on peripheral lenders. Italian banking giant Unicredit sank 3.5%, Intesa Sanpaolo declined 1.1%, while Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA slumped 1% and 0.5% respectively.
In London, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 held on to earlier gains, climbing 0.9%.
Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw shares climb 3% and 1.9% respectively, copper producer Xstrata gained 2.7%, while Anglo American shares rose 1.6%.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a strong open on Wall Street, as shares in Cisco Systems rallied 10% in pre-market trade after reporting strong earnings after Wednesday's closing bell.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a gain of 1.3%, the S&P 500 futures jumped 1.6%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1.8%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release official data on its trade balance, as well as a government report on initial jobless claims and natural gas stockpiles.
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