- UK inflation rises
- German producer prices fall
- ECB may change policy calendar
- Russia warns over sanctions
FTSE 100: -0.62%
CAC 40: -0.39%
FTSE MIB: 0.30%
IBEX 35: 0.27%
Stoxx 600: -0.06%
European stocks were mixed as UK inflation rose more than expected in April.
The UK consumer price index (CPI) increased 1.8% year-on-year in April following a 1.6% rise a month earlier, surprising analysts who had predicted a 1.7% gain and moving closer to the Bank of England's target of just under 2%.
However, Investec said a closer look at the data showed the rise was driven by the timing of Easter.
"The Easter weekend fell close to the April CPI collection period this year whilst the holiday fell in March last year," the broker said. "Hence an 18% increase in air fares and 22% monthly rise in sea fares were set against a 6% fall and 3% rise, respectively, last year."
In Germany, producer prices fell 0.9% year-on-year in April following a 0.9% drop a month earlier, missing forecasts for a 0.8% decline.
Elsewhere in the Eurozone, the European Central Bank (ECB) is reportedly considering a 'Fed-style' calendar of monetary policy meetings, whereby meetings will be held every six weeks instead of every first Thursday of the month.
Michael McKee, Economics Editor for Bloomberg TV, tweeted:
"#ECB move to a #Fed-style every-six-weeks meeting schedule, according to people familiar. Worried frequent meetings raise expectations."
The comment follows an ongoing debate of whether the ECB should, like the Federal Reserve (Fed), also release the minutes of its policy meetings.
US Fed, Russia
In the US, Federal Reserve members Charles Plosser and William Dudley were due to speak today ahead of the release of the meeting minutes tomorrow.
"If anything, the views of these Fed officials, along with those of Esther George, Narayana Kocherlakota and Chairwoman Janet Yellen tomorrow, are more relevant as they take into consideration the latest data including the jobs report earlier this month which showed 288,000 jobs being created in April," said Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari.
"I can't imagine the Fed changing the pace of tapering because of this data, so if anything we may get further insight into their views on interest rates and when they expect the first hike."
In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he has prepared a raft of retaliatory steps in response to potentially wider sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union.
Medvedev told Bloomberg Russia is being pulled into a new Cold War with the US and its allies over the turmoil in Ukraine.
Carnival, United Internet
Carnival edged higher after Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating on the shares
to 'equalweight' from 'underweight'.
United Internet, a German online-access and domain provider, gained after first-quarter sales rose to beat analysts' estimates.
Deutsche Annington declined as Monterey Holdings I Sarl sold a 12.5% stake in the German landlord.
Vodafone slumped after saying it forecasts earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to fall in the year ended March 2015.
Marks and Spencer retreated after reporting a 3.9% fall in annual pre-tax profit to £623m, reflecting a drop in sales at the struggling general merchandise division.
Sonova advanced as the maker of hearing aids proposed a dividend of 1.90 francs which exceeded expectations.
The euro fell 0.10% to $1.3695.
Brent crude futures rose $0.37 to $109.740 per barrel, according to the ICE.