European stocks trim gains after tepid data; Dax up 0.04%

Shutterstock photo - European stocks trimmed gains on Wednesday, after disappointing German economic data added to concerns over the debt crisis in the euro zone, while investors awaited the European Central Bank's monthly policy meeting.

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 edged 0.08% higher, France's CAC 40 dipped 0.02%, while Germany's DAX 30 inched up 0.04%.

Official data showed that industrial production inched up by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in November, compared to expectations for a 1% increase.

Industrial production for October was revised to a 2% drop from a previously reported decline of 2.6%.

Separately, the ECB was widely expected to hold off cutting rates following Thursday's policy meeting, but some market participants expected the bank to flag the possibility of rate cuts later in the year.

Financial stocks remained mostly higher, as shares Germany's Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank jumped 1.66% and 2.57%, while French lender Societe Generale surged 2.25%. BNP Paribas underperformed on the other hand, tumbling 1.05%.

Peripheral lenders were also higher, with Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit rallying 1.21% and 1.36%, while Spain's Banco Santander and BBVA rose 0.32% and 0.94% respectively.

Elsewhere, Bayer climbed 0.59% after the CEO of Bayer Healthcare, Joerg Reinhardt, said the company no longer plans to sell its diabetes unit, after having evaluated different options.

In London, FTSE 100 advanced 0.48%, boosted by sharp gains in financial stocks, while data showed that the U.K. trade deficit narrowed to GBP9.2 billion last month from GBP9.4 billion in October.

HSBC Holdings jumped 1% and Barclays rallied 2.16%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking surged 2.48% and 5.03% respectively.

Mining stocks added to gains following Alcoa's upbeat earnings report on Tuesday, as shares in BHP Billiton rose 0.33%, while copper producers Xstrata and Kazakhmys advanced 1.15% and 1.24% respectively.

Meanwhile, Irish drugmaker Shire surged 1.58% following reports the company expects "double-digit" earnings growth in 2012, confirming an October 25 forecast.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.09% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.03% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.03% dip.

Also Wednesday, final data showed that the euro zone economy contracted 0.1% in the third quarter, in line with preliminary estimates. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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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.

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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