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    24.03.2016 11:00 European stock markets mid session: stocks traded lower on lower oil prices

    Stock indices traded lower on a decline in oil prices. Oil prices fell on the U.S. crude oil inventories data, which the higher than expected by analysts.

    Market participants also eyed the economic data from the Eurozone. Market research group GfK released its consumer confidence index for Germany on Thursday. German Gfk consumer confidence index fell to 9.4 in April from 9.5 in March. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged at 9.5.

    The economic expectations index declined by 2.9 points to 0.5 points in March, while the willingness to buy index fell by 2.7 points to 50.0.

    The income expectations index dropped by 6.2 points to 50.5 in March.

    "The weak demand for German products in certain important markets will probably not leave economic growth in Germany unaffected. A signal of this is the decline in economic expectations this month," Gfk noted.

    The French statistical office Insee released its manufacturing confidence index for France on Thursday. The French manufacturing confidence index declined to 101 in March from 103 in February.

    The Office for National Statistics released its retail sales data for the U.K. on Thursday. Retail sales in the U.K. fell 0.4% in February, beating expectations for a 0.7% drop, after a 2.3% rise in January.

    The decline was driven by a weak demand for clothing. Clothing and footwear sales fell 0.4% in February.

    Food store sales were down 0.3% in February, while non-food store sales decreased 0.1%.

    On a yearly basis, retail sales in the U.K. climbed 3.8% in February, in line with forecasts, after a 5.4% rise in January. January's figure was revised up from a 5.2% gain.

    The British Bankers' Association (BBA) released the number of mortgage approvals in the U.K. on Thursday. The number of mortgage approvals declined to 45,982 in February from 46,900 in January. January's figure was revised down from 47,509.

    "Mortgage borrowing remained buoyant in February. It appears that borrowers are continuing to try to get ahead of the increases in stamp duty for buy-to-let and second home buyers scheduled to come into effect next month," the chief economist at the BBA, Richard Woolhouse, said.

    Current figures:

    Name Price Change Change %

    FTSE 100 6,114.18 -84.93 -1.37 %

    DAX 9,877.28 -145.65 -1.45 %

    CAC 40 4,340.65 -83.33 -1.88 %

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