- EU weighs tougher sanctions against Russia
- Eurozone industrial output rises
- US retail sales climb
FTSE 100: 0.34%
CAC 40: 0.43%
FTSE MIB: 0.55%
IBEX 35: -0.17%
Stoxx 600: 0.31%
Euro-area stocks were little changed as European officials weighed tougher sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.
European Union (EU) foreign ministers today said the bloc should be prepared to impose a third round of sanctions as pro-Russian activists ignored a deadline to abandon the barricades which they have set up in several cities located in the eastern regions of Ukraine or face military action.
Ukraine had given the Russian activists until 06:00 GMT on Monday to retreat before sending forces to remove them from government buildings.
However, those pro-Kremlin groups continued to occupy the area following an exchange of heated words between Russia on one side, and the US and Ukraine on the other, at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council last night.
Eurozone industrial output, US retail sales
Eurozone industrial production rose more than expected in February, up 1.7% year-on-year compared to a 1.6% increase a month earlier. Analysts had pencilled in a 1.5% gain.
"Overall then, the small rise in industrial production in February will not be enough to dispel fears about the fragility of the euro-zone's economic recovery," Capital Economics said. "Growth is still too weak to tackle the region's debt problems or to head off the risk of deflation."
In the US, retail sales in March climbed 1.1% to $433.9bn following a 0.7% increase a month earlier, beating the consensus estimate for a 0.9% rise.
In Italy, investors ordered more than €6.53bn of six-year, inflation-linked bonds or BTP's as they are known. The auction began at 17:10 local time and will run through April 17th. It comes just five months after a record €22.3bn sale of a similar maturity, the Italian stock exchange said on its website.
PSA Peugeot Citroen
PSA Peugeot Citroen edged lower after the carmaker outlined plans to cut its model line-up by almost half and turn the Citroen unit's DS badge into a separate brand.
National Bank of Greece slid on reports the country's biggest lender is planning to increase its share capital by as much as €2.1bn after the national regulator's stress test identified a shortfall.
Kuehne & Nagel International AG declined after the world's biggest sea-freight forwarder reported first-quarter sales that missed estimates.
Rheinmetall AG, an automotive and defence-equipment supplier, slipped as Bild am Sonntag reported that a sale of 800 Leopard 2 Battle tanks to Saudi Arabia will probably be cancelled.
Glencore Xstrata advanced after selling its stake in the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru.
STMicroelectronics NV dropped as UBS recommended selling stocks in the chipmaker.
Symrise AG slumped after offering to buy Diana Group, a French flavours and pet-food additive maker.
Marine Harvest ASA was higher as the salmon farmer reported a better-than-expected first-quarter harvest.
The euro fell 0.50% to $1.3816.
Brent crude futures rose $0.694 to $108.080 per barrel, according to the ICE.