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European stocks slip lower in cautious trade; Dax down 0.09%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks slipped lower on Tuesday, after relatively positive unemployment data from Spain, as investors remained cautious ahead of the European Central Bank's monthly policy meeting scheduled later in the week.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 eased 0.06%, France's CAC 40 dipped 0.06%, while Germany's DAX edged down 0.09%.

Official data earlier showed that the number of unemployed people in Spain dropped by 111,900 last month, compared to expectations for a 112,300 decline, after a 111,600 fall in April.

Meanwhile, data on Friday showing that the annual rate of inflation in Italy and Spain slowed in May continued to fuel expectations that the ECB will take steps to tackle low consumer price growth, which is threatening the fragile recovery in the euro zone.

Last week, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank was aware of the risks of persistently low inflation and was prepared to take steps to get euro zone inflation back to its target, the latest indication that the bank is on course to ease monetary policy next week.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) edged up 0.03% and 0.12%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) added 0.24%.

Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) inched up 0.06% and 0.07% respectively. Italy's Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) underperformed however, slipping 0.12% and 0.60%.

Elsewhere, GDF Suez (PARIS:GSZ) rallied 1.29%, still supported by news on Friday that the French power company's energy services unit Cofely bought U.S. firm Ecova for $335 million in a move to expand its energy efficiency business.

In London, FTSE 100 fell 0.24%, led by Royal Mail (LONDON:RMG), down 0.95%, a day after the company raised concerns over the route of the UK government's controversial High Speed Rail project, which proposes a major new transport route from London to the North of England.

Financial stocks were also mostly lower, as the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) dipped 0.06% and HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) edged down 0.10%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) shed 0.33%. Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) overperformed on the other hand, up 0.08%.

Intercontinental Hotels (LONDON:IHG) saw shares drop 0.68% as Chief Executive Officer Richard Solomons said his company can grow on its own without a merger or takeover.

In the mining sector, stocks were mixed. Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) slipped 0.08% and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) declined 0.85%, while rivals Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) and Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) gained 0.24% and 0.72% respectively.

Meanwhile, Wolseley (LONDON:WOS) led gains on the index, with shares surging 2.84%, after the U.K. distributor of plumbing and heating products reported third-quarter sales growth of 5.1%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.05% dip, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.11% fall, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.09% loss.

Later in the day, the euro zone was to release preliminary data on consumer inflation as well as a report on the unemployment rate. The U.S. was to produce data on factory orders. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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