European markets struggled to hold early gains Tuesday after some upbeat data from Germany.
The FTSE slipped 0.1%. The CAC 40 Paris also declined 0.1% while the German DAX inched ahead 0.2%.
Official data earlier today showed Germany's seasonally adjusted exports rose 2.2% in January, more than expected. Imports were also better than estimates, increasing by 4.1%. The trade balance surplus widened to 15.0 billion euro from a revised 13.9 billion euro originally reported at 14.2 billion euro in December.
Later, manufacturing and industrial production figures are due from the U.K.
The concerns remain on tensions in Ukraine with confrontation around the Black Sea peninsula showing no sign of easing.
Banking stocks are in focus with the euro area governments moving closer to a deal on how to wind down failing banks. Discussions are expected to continue for another day and could result in the setting up of banking union that could remove all ambiguity in various issues with respect to the region's lenders.
Stocks on the Move
Close Brothers PLC moved up 3.1% after the company raised dividend more than expected.
African Barrick Gold plunged about 14% after Barrick Gold Corp. began selling a 10% stake in the African unit.
Lender Societe Generale was down half a percent but BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole edged up 0.2% and 0.4% each, respectively.
Over in Switzerland, Geberit AG rose 1.8% after naming a new CEO and reporting an increase in profitability.
ThyssenKrupp AG was marginally lower after local media reported without citing sources the company has renewed efforts to sell its rail business.
BMW was up 0.6%. The company said it saw strong demand for its i8 hybrid sportscar set to go into series production in April and commence deliveries in June.
Reinsurer Hannover Rueck SE fell 2.4% after reporting results.