Investing.com - European stocks remained mixed on Wednesday, as markets were jittery ahead of a highly anticipated vote on the U.S. debt ceiling later in the day.
During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.19%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.34%, while Germany's DAX 30 rose 0.22%.
Markets were eyeing U.S. budget negotiations after Republican leaders in the House of Representatives said they aim to pass on Wednesday a nearly four-month extension of the U.S. debt limit allowing the government to borrow enough to meet its obligations during that period.
Sentiment was hit on Tuesday, amid rumors some large German banks could be asked to split their investment banking operations.
Financial stocks remained broadly lower, as shares in French lenders Societe Generale and BNP Paribas tumbled 1.67% and 1.12%, extending earlier losses, while Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank dropped 0.50% and 1.33% respectively.
Bloomberg reported earlier that Deutsche Bank will pay USD1.6 million to end a dispute with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that said a unit of the bank manipulated California's power markets.
The German lender will also have to pay a civil penalty of USD1.5 million and USD172,645 plus interest to California's grid operator, according to the FERC.
Elsewhere, Novartis surged 4.71% after saying Chairman Daniel Vasella will step down from the board after 17 years, and Bayer AG's Joerg Reinhardt will take over as non-executive chairman.
In London, FTSE 100 added 0.15%, after official data showed that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.K. fell to the lowest level since June 2011 in December.
Unilever remained sharply higher, up 2.77%, after the company posted fourth-quarter underlying sales growth of 7.8%, exceeding analysts' estimates.
Tullow Oil added to gains, with shares rallying 2.94%, while mining companies Rangold Resources and Evraz jumped 2.28% and 1.92% respectively.
In the financial sector, stocks were mixed. The Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 0.21% and Lloyds Banking plummeted 1.06%, while HSBC Holdings added 0.19% and Barclays climbed 0.48%.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a mixed open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.01% gain, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.10% loss, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.12% rise.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to release government data on crude oil stockpiles, while the World Economic Forum was to continue for a second day in Davos, Switzerland.
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