- German economic confidence falls
- US retail sales rise but at slower pace
- Report fuels ECB rate cut speculation
- Ukraine presidential vote is key, says German FM
FTSE 100: 0.31%
CAC 40: 0.25%
FTSE MIB: -1.11%
IBEX 35: 0.19%
Stoxx 600: 0.27%
European stocks were little changed as investors weighed reports on German economic confidence and US retail sales.
ZEW's index for measuring investor and analyst expectations for Germany's economy fell to 33.1 in May from 43.2 the previous month, trailing estimates of 40.
"The fifth consecutive decline in ZEW investor sentiment in May suggests that the German economic recovery might not gain much pace from here," Capital Economics said.
US retail sales grew 0.1% in April following a revised 1.5% increase a month earlier, missing analysts' forecasts for a 0.4% gain.
"This result has given the second quarter GDP bounce-back a knock but the first quarter may be back on track for 0.1% growth after the revision higher,"according to Jasper Lawler, Analyst at CMC Markets.
"Given the strength of the moves seen yesterday, retail sales is just one piece of data so markets are shrugging it off with consensus opinion rightly or wrongly unchanged that the second quarter will see a snapback in growth with further improvements in the labour market."
Euro falls on ECB rate cut speculation
The euro dropped 0.36% to $1.3707 following a report that Germany's central bank Bundesbank was willing to back a negative interest rate on bank deposits and European Central Bank (ECB) purchases of packaged bank loans if needed to keep inflation from staying too low
A person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that the ECB staff inflation expectations for 2016, due in early June, will be key to the Bundesbank's appetite for further monetary easing.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier believes the Ukraine's presidential vote on May 25th will play a big part in resolving the unrest.
Steinmeier met acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya in Kiev today in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the European Commission on economic and monetary affairs today said Ukraine will be able to use the European Union's financial assistance to pay off its debt for Russian gas.
Ukraine and the EU were today due to sign an agreement on the provision of €1bn of financial assistance to Kiev in Brussels.
ThyssenKrupp jumped as the steelmaker said 2014 profit excluding one-time items will almost double from last year's €586m as it reported a rise in first-quarter earnings.
Pandora was up as the Danish jeweller said full-year sales will exceed 10.5bn kroner, up from its previous forecast of 10bn kroner.
AstraZeneca edged higher on reports that said Pfizer may increase the value of its current bid for the UK drugmaker.
Telecom Italia SpA slumped after posting quarterly revenue that missed market forecasts.
easyJet declined after reporting a fall in first half losses but warning of increased levels of competitor capacity in the second half.
Airbus advanced after the French plane-maker reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates.
Paddy Power retreated after Chief Executive Kennedy said he will step down from the Irish bookmaker next year.
Brent crude rose by $0.303 to $108.740 per barrel, according to the ICE.