- German business confidence rises
- Eurozone inflation revised up
- Italy's Renzi lays out reforms
FTSE 100: 0.41%
CAC 40: 0.87%
FTSE MIB: 0.42%
IBEX 35: 1.21%
Stoxx 600: 0.62%
European stocks advanced after the release of better-than-expected German business confidence figures and upwardly revised Eurozone inflation data.
The German Ifo business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, increased in February to 111.3 from 110.6 in January, surprising analysts who had predicted the gauge to remain unchanged.
While the survey pointed to recovery in Europe's biggest economy, Capital Economics warned that the report has been "consistently over-optimistic relative to the hard data over the last year or so, so its implications for growth should not be interpreted too literally".
Eurozone inflation in January was revised from the preliminary reading of 0.7% to 0.8%, in line with December's rate of growth.
However, it remained at levels well below the European Central Bank's (ECB) 2% target.
The ECB has been under mounting pressure to take greater measures to tackle falling prices which are seen to hurt growth in the bloc.
ECB President Mario Draghi has signalled that the central bank may take policy action, such as stimulus measures, at its meeting in March following the release of new 2016 forecasts.
"By then we'll have the full set of information needed for us to decide whether to act or not," he said yesterday at the Group of 20 Finance Ministers meeting in Sydney.
Renzi lays out reforms
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has vowed to cut labour taxes and implement institutional reforms to boost the nation's economy.
Renzi today faced parliament for the first time since being appointed premier last week.
He laid out an ambitious programme of change amid calls for reforms to address Italy's €2trn public debt.
"If we lose this challenge, the fault will be mine alone," Renzi told the Senate.
Meanwhile, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said the central bank will not take risks with the recovery and is going to implement monetary policy in a way that ensures sustainable growth in jobs, incomes and in spending.
He also said the revised forward guidance earlier this month reflected the necessity for a "more complex set of judgements" than was required in the first phase, when it was linked to the unemployment rate.
Vivendi SA was higher after saying it was approached about a potential alliance between its French phone business SFR and cable provider Numericable Group SA, controlled by Altice SA.
HSBC slumped after the bank posted 2013 pre-tax profits that missed the consensus forecast and warned that it expected "greater volatility in 2014 and choppy markets".
Scania AB rallied as Volkswagen offered to buy the remaining stake in the Swedish truck-maker for €6.7bn.
Currys and PC World's parent group Dixons surged after confirming it was in merger talks with mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse. Carphone Warehouse also gained.
Bunzl advanced as the outsourcing and distribution group reported an 18% rise in 2013 operating profit, boosted by acquisitions.
PostNL NV slumped after the Dutch mail service reported a full-year loss that was wider than forecast by analysts.
The euro fell 0.07% to $1.3737.
Brent crude futures rose $0.615 to $110.530 per barrel, according to the ICE.