- German unemployment falls
- Eurozone economic confidence rises
- Chinese manufacturing contracts
- US GDP expands
FTSE 100: -0.12%
CAC 40: 0.42%
FTSE MIB: 0.38%
IBEX 35: 0.50%
Stoxx 600: 0.23%
European stocks were little changed as traders assessed a slate of mixed economic data.
Germany's unemployment fell 28,000 in January, more than the 5,000 drop expected by analysts and December's 19,000 decline. The unemployment rate of Europe's biggest economy dipped to 6.8% this month from 6.9% in December.
Separately, German inflation rose less than expected at a 1.3% annualised pace in January, down from 1.4% the prior month. Economists had pencilled in consumer price index (CPI) growth of 1.5%.
Another report revealed Eurozone economic confidence increased in January. The sentiment barometer edged up to 100.9 from 100.4 in December, missing economists' estimates of 101.
The index for consumer confidence in the bloc came in at -11.7 in January, in line with the prior month and forecasts.
Capital Economics said the Eurozone confidence figures point to "a solid but unspectacular start to the year" and suggest that economic recovery is "slowly building momentum".
In China, manufacturing contracted in January, according to HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics, fuelling concerns of a slowdown in the world's second largest economy. The purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 49.5 this month from 50.5 in December, below the 49.6 consensus forecast and under the 50 level that signals expansion.
US GDP, jobs and home sales
The Commerce Department said today US gross domestic product (GDP) expanded in line with forecasts at a 3.2% annualised rate in the fourth quarter, compared to 4.1% in the third quarter.
The Labor Department revealed 19,000 more jobless claims to 348,000 in the week ended January 25th. It came in higher than the consensus forecast of 330,000 claims and the previous week's 329,000.
Pending home sales fell by a worse-than-expected 8.7% in December as housing-market activity was dampened by the poor weather last month. Analysts were expecting a fall of just 0.3% month-on-month, in line with the 0.3% decline in November.
The reports come a day after the Fed said the economy had improved since its meeting in December when it began unwinding monthly asset purchases by $10bn to $75bn.
As a result of a pick-up in recovery, the central bank decided to scale back a further $10bn when it wrapped up yesterday's policy meeting. It came as no surprise to analysts who had been anticipating the move.
Givaudan SA was up after the maker of flavours and fragrances unveiled full-year net income that surpassed market expectations.
Diageo edged lower after the distiller posted an increase in first half profit that fell short of forecasts.
H&M slipped after the European fashion retailer reported fourth-quarter net income that came in under projections.
Serco Group tumbled after the outsourcing group issued a 2014 profit warning.
TeliaSonera declined as Sweden's largest phone operator posted a drop in fourth-quarter net income that trailed forecasts.
Royal Dutch Shell gained after the oil company said it would sell off assets and cut costs to boost capital as it reported a sharp fall in fourth quarter earnings.
Ericsson rallied after the maker of wireless networks reported fourth-quarter net income of 6.41bn kronor following a loss a year earlier.
The euro fell 0.79% to $1.3555.
Brent crude futures rose $0.434 to $108.320 per barrel, ICE data revealed.