- Fed policy meeting in focus
- US House passes budget bill
- Eurozone employment unchanged
- UK construction rises
FTSE 100: -0.08%
CAC 40: -0.23%
FTSE MIB: 0.00%
IBEX 35: 0.01%
Stoxx 600: -0.16%
European equities finished the week little changed as investors prepared for next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting when the central bank may announce a stimulus reduction.
An improving labour market and economy has increased speculation that the Fed will announce a reduction to its $85bn per month in bond purchases at the December 17th to 18th meeting.
"Everything we see and hear at the moment seems to support a reduction in asset purchases next week, from jobs figures to consumer behaviour and even fiscal issues," said Alpari analyst, Craig Erlam.
Adding fuel to the fire was the positive news last night that a two-year US budget deal was passed through the House.
The budget proposal will now be sent to the Democrat-led Senate for approval and President Barack Obama has already backed the bill.
The proposed budget aims to reduce the federal deficit by up to $23bn and avoids a repeat of October's government shutdown.
Eurozone employment, UK construction
Eurozone employment held steady for the second consecutive quarter in the three months to September, adding to signs of a weak recovery in the bloc.
On a year-on-year basis employment fell by 0.8% in the third quarter against a 1.1% decline previously. Germany's employment rose while France registered no change, Italy was flat and Spain declined.
In the UK, construction rose by 2.2% in October compared to a month earlier when it fell by 0.5%. Economists had forecast a 1.6% increase.
In Spain, the consumer price index(CPI) increased in November by 0.2% year-on-year, three tenths of a percentage point higher than in the prior month.
The European Union harmonised CPI advanced 0.3%, as expected by a consensus of analysts, compared to a flat 0.0% a month earlier.
Hays rallied after Morgan Stanley gave the recruitment company an 'overweight' rating, saying strong demand for temporary workers will boost profit next year.
Syngenta edged higher after the world's biggest maker of crop chemicals received an upgrade from Vontobel Holding to 'buy' from 'hold'.
AstraZeneca climbed after its diabetes pill won the support of a US advisory panel.
RSA Insurance slumped after reducing its 2013 forecast due to issues with its Irish reserves and the impact of adverse European weather. The London-listed insurer also announced the resignation of Chief Executive Simon Lee.
Peugeot plunged as General Motors announced it is selling its entire 7% holding through a private placement to institutional investors.
ARM Holdings gained after the UK chip designer said it would buy Geometrics, which provides lighting technology for the gaming and entertainment industry.
The euro fell 0.13% to $1.3736.
Brent crude futures dropped $0.379 to $108.260 per barrel, according to ICE data.