European markets started higher Wednesday consolidating near five-and-a-half year highs hit the previous session.
Data ahead of the market open showed Germany's trade balance rose less-than-expected in November even as exports rose for the consecutive month but imports dropped by 1.1%.
Euro-zone retail sales and unemployment data are due later in the day.
Stocks on the Move
British supermarket J Sainsbury PLC opened higher but slipped quickly into the red and was down 1.6%. The company reported a small but unexpected rise in quarterly sales in the 14 weeks to January 4.
Lloyds Banking Group was up half a percent after a sell-off of the government's 33% stake in the bank moved a step closer, according to media reports.
Energy supplier SSE was down 0.6% after the company said late Tuesday it will cut prices in response to a government pledge to remove some taxes and social charges from bills by the end of the ongoing financial year.
Air-France KLM soared 3.6% in Paris after the Franco-Dutch airline said passenger traffic rose 2.1% in December over the last year.
In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank was up 0.7%.
Rouhan Sharma does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.