LONDON (The Deal) -- European stocks retreated on Wednesday, erasing earlier gains amid a selloff in mining and metals companies and an export decline in Germany, Europe's largest economy.
In London, the FTSE 100 slid 0.24% to 612.38, while in Paris the CAC 40 slipped 0.74% to 4,647.41. In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.70% at 10,598.57.
Mining giant Anglo American (AAUKY) led London stocks lower, retreating more than 7% as rising metals prices did little to boost bearish sentiment.
On the macroeconomic front, a report from Germany's Federal Statistics Office showed that exports fell 1.2% in October following a strong gain in September and imports were down by 3.4%, resulting in a widening of the trade surplus.
Later in the day all eyes will turn to the U.S. for a fresh batch of economic data from the world's largest economy on MBA mortgage applications, wholesale inventories, and weekly crude oil inventories.
Among other Wednesday decliners, Stagecoach Group (SAGKF) slumped 13.5% after the U.K. public transportation operator posted a drop in first-half results.
The company also gave a cautious outlook and a "modest" revision to its full-year earnings, citing weaker than expected revenue in its U.K. regional bus operations, a lower rate of rail and inter-city coach revenue growth since mid-November in the U.K. and mainland Europe.
On a brighter note, CEO Martin Griffiths said the company remains in "good financial shape" despite short-term challenges for the sector.
Pearson (PSO) slid 2.94% after equity analysts at Deutsche Bank cut their price target on the stock.
Among gainers, Entertainment One (ENTMF) rose 10.65%. The television entertainment company behind the Peppa Pig cartoon show released a statement noting its share-price movement and confirmed that it "continues to trade in line with full-year group underlying earnings expectations." It also said it remains confident in its goal to double the size of the business by 2020 through strong organic growth and "carefully targeted acquisitions."
Xchanging (XCNGF) jumped more than 10% after agreeing to a 480 million pounds ($720 million) takeover offer from Computer Sciences (CSC) as it switched its allegiance from a previously agreed bid from Capita. Capita shares were 0.66% lower.
Ashtead Group climbed 8.6% after the industrial rental equipment company said it expects full-year results to exceed previous expectations, following an 18% jump in second-quarter pre-tax profit. The board also raised the interim dividend by 33%, to be paid to shareholders in February.
Carillion was 2.85% higher after the facilities management and construction services provider said it has secured 1 billion pounds ($1.51 billion) worth of new business and is on track to achieve full-year targets.
Carillion also said its order book and pipeline of contract opportunities are both strong, along with operating cash flow. It's due to announce full-year preliminary results in early March.
Asian stocks were mainly lower with the exception of China, whose benchmark Shanghai Composite index inched up 0.07% to finish the day at 3,472.44.
Official data released Wednesday showed a moderate, 1.5% November increase in China's consumer inflation, in line with expectations and up from 1.3% in October. Deflationary pressure is seen picking up next year amid slowing demand in the world's second-largest economy.
Elsewhere in the region, the Hang Seng fell 0.46% to 21,803.76 in Hong Kong while the Nikkei back-pedaled 0.98% to 19,301.07 in Tokyo.