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Market Update

European Stocks Slip; China Data, Euro Meet in Focus

European markets opened in the red Monday as investors moved to the sidelines on heels of some disappointing Chinese data. Markets were also cautious ahead of a meeting of euro-zone leaders later in the day.

At 9:18 a.m. London time, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3%, the CAC 40 Paris lost 0.2% while the DAX Frankfurt gave up 0.4%.

Official data released in China earlier today showed industrial production in the world's second largest economy grew a less-than-expected 9.3% in April. The reading came in higher than the final print of 8.9% rise recorded in the previous month, but markets reacted negatively to the news as analysts were hoping for a 9.5% increase in April. The disappointing data stoked fresh concerns about economic recovery in China.

Back in Europe, finance ministers from the region were expected to meet today in Brussels to decide whether to approve aid packages for the debt-ridden countries of Greece and Cyprus.

Meanwhile, a fresh wave of protests hit Spain over the weekend with unemployment reaching record high levels, even as Slovenia became one of the region's debt-ridden nations to request for an international bailout.

Stocks on the move

Financial stocks were broadly lower -- French lenders BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA lost 0.6% while 0.9% respectively.

Among German firms, Deutsche Bank AG shed 0.8% while Commerzbank AG plunged over 5% after the bank said it was preparing to sell new shares as part of its plan to raise 2.5 billion euros.

In London, Barclays Plc. erased 1.7% amid buzz U.K. trading house CF Partners and Barclays would battle out a dispute pertaining to acquisition of Swedish firm Tricorna in the High Court this week.

Among others, Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC Holdings Plc tumbled over 2% each.

Standard Chartered Plc. plunged nearly 5% after Carson Block, founding partner of Muddy Waters Research, said he is betting against the London-based bank's debt.

Miners on the resource-heavy benchmark index were also trading lacklustre.

Leading miner BHP Billiton Plc. lost 0.2%, Rio Tinto Plc. eased 0.7% and Anglo American Plc. pulled back 1.3%.