- Eurozone investor confidence rises
- Industrial output falls in France and Italy
- Yellen to deliver first policy testimony
- Merkel and Cameron meet to discuss future of EU
FTSE 100: 0.30%
CAC 40: 0.21%
FTSE MIB: -0.05%
IBEX 35: -0.89%
Stoxx 600: 0.06%
European stocks were little changed as Eurozone investor confidence grew and industrial production in Italy and France declined.
Investor confidence in the Eurozone rose to the highest level since April 2011. Sentix said its sentiment index jumped to 13.3 in February from 11.9 in January, surprising analysts who had predicted a drop to 10.7.
Another report showed Italian industrial production fell in December by 0.9% from November in seasonally adjusted terms. Economists had expected output to have held stable.
French industrial production dropped 0.3% in December from November, missing the consensus forecast for a 0.1% decrease.
Yellen's first policy testimony looms
Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen will deliver her first testimony on monetary policy tomorrow.
Yellen, who took over the reins from Ben Bernanke this year, may shed further light on the Fed's decision last month to cut monthly bond purchases by a further $10bn to $65bn.
"Global investors are eagerly awaiting the hotly anticipated speech by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen tomorrow to see if they can find any signs that the Fed are to raise its main near-0% interest rate in the near future," said Spreadex trader Sam Fox.
Back in the euro-area, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss the future of the European Union with Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to London on February 27th.
While he is yet specify his plans, Cameron has said he wants to curb immigration from new member states, cut red tape and improve competition.
Telekom Austria, Barclays
Telekom Austria rallied as Erste Group Bank raised the company to 'hold' from 'reduce', citing a possible increase in profit margin.
Barclays was up despite announcing its 2013 pre-tax profit fell by a quarter from the year before to £5.2bn, below forecasts, ahead of its full figures tomorrow. Investec issued a 'buy' rating, saying despite pre-tax profits missing consensus, it was 1% above its own predictions and the stock "remains our preferred UK domestic bank".
Nestle advanced after signalling its intention to reduce its stake in L'Oreal. L'Oreal also edged higher.
Nokia Oyj gained following news the company and HTC Corp. have agreed to collaborate after ending a patent-infringement dispute.
Securitas slumped as the world's second-biggest guarding-services provider posted fourth-quarter net income that missed analysts' estimates.
Centrica declined as UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey asked regulators to look at whether the company's British Gas unit was too profitable and should be broken up.
The euro rose 0.08% to $1.3646.
Brent crude futures dropped $0.449 to $109.080 per barrel, according to the ICE.