PARIS (Alliance News) - The European markets are trading lower on Friday, after Euro area foreign trade surplus rose more-than-expected in March. Figures from Eurostat showed that the trade surplus came in at a non-seasonally adjusted 17.1 billion euros, which exceeded economists' expectations for 16 billion euros.
Investor sentiment was impacted by concerns about Ukraine, ahead of data on housing starts from the world's largest economy.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.29%, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major UK companies, is gaining 0.06%.
The German DAX, the French CAC 40 and the UK'sFTSE 100 are falling between 0.2% and 0.5%. Switzerland's SMI is in positive territory.
In Frankfurt, Merck KGaA and Bayer are moderately higher. Capital IQ raised Merck to ''Buy'' from ''Hold.''
Detergent maker Henkel and utility RWE are up 0.7% each. Goldman Sachs raised RWE to ''Buy'' from ''Neutral.''
Adidas is down 1.1% after a broker downgrade.
Travel group TUI, which reported a narrower quarterly loss, is falling 1.2%.
In Paris, Bouygues is gaining 4% on a report that it discussed a transaction with Orange more than once. Orange is moderately higher.
Energy firm Total is rising 1.6% and brewer Pernod-Ricard is gaining 1.4%.
Cap Gemini is losing 4.2% and Alcatel Lucent is falling 2.8%.
In London, retailers are seeing buying momentum. WM Morrison is gaining 4.6% and J Sainsbury is adding 2.5%. Tesco is up 1.9%.
Intertek Group, which issued a 4-month trading update, is declining 5.6%. The company said market conditions remain variable with good growth in key product-related business lines but weak demand in certain other markets.
Sports Direct International and Barratt Developments are falling 5.3% each.
Credit Suisse is moderately lower in Zurich. The lender is nearing a deal to plead guilty and pay around USD2.5 billion to the U.S Justice Department and regulators amid allegations that it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes, reports said.
The Asian stocks ended mixed owing to a selloff on Wall Street for a second day in a row the previous day.
In the US, futures point to a cautious open on Wall Street. US stocks fell for a second day in a row on Thursday, as small-cap shares extended their retreat and earnings from retailers such as Wal-Mart and Kohl's disappointed investors. The Dow lost a percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.8% and the S&P 500 slid 0.9%.
Crude for June delivery is rising USD0.22 to USD101.72 per barrel, while gold is adding USD1.4 to USD1295.0 a troy ounce.