- US confidence and retail sales figures disappoint
- Investors eye Federal Reserve meeting next week
- US and Russia tackle Syria plan
FTSE 100: -0.08%
CAC 40: 0.24%
FTSE MIB: 0.19%
IBEX 35: 0.22%
Stoxx 600: 0.15%
European stocks ended the week mixed after US economic reports showed consumer confidence fell unexpectedly and retail sales rose less than forecast.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading of its consumer sentiment index fell to 76.8 in September from 82.1 in August, its lowest reading since April. Economist had pencilled in a reading of 82.
The report said the decline reflected growing fears that higher interest rates would hamper economic growth.
Separately, the Commerce Department revealed that the rate of growth in US retail sales slowed in August to a 0.2% increase from a 0.4% rise in July.
The increase was less than the 0.4% growth the market was looking for and marked the smallest rise in four months.
The disappointing data came as economists weighed whether the Federal Reserve would announce a tapering of stimulus at its two-day meeting starting September 17th.
Some economists forecast bond-buying will be reduced by $10bn to $75bn.
Meanwhile, the US and Russia continued their talks in Geneva over a plan to have Syria hand over its chemical weapons to international control in exchange for avoiding US military action.
US Secretary of State John Kerry described his talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as "constructive" into the second day of their discussions.
Syria has agreed to Russia's proposal to give up its chemical weapons but some US lawmakers remain sceptical.
US President Barack Obama has insisted that if diplomacy failed he would support a move towards military strikes against Syria's government for allegedly using chemical weapons against civilians on August 21st.
"With the Federal Reserve meeting next week to discuss potential reductions to monthly bond purchases, and with developments in Syria moving along at a snail's pace, it is understandable that investors are tempted to hold fire for the next week or so," said Max Cohen, a trader at Spreadex.
BOE urged to control house prices
The Bank of England (BoE) should cap annual house price inflation at 5% to take the "froth" out of future housing market booms and to prevent an unsustainable rise in debt, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has declared.
It argued that such a limit would help put a lid on price expectations and therefore discourage households from taking on excessive debt out of fear of missing the next price boom.
Meanwhile, BoE Chief Economist Spencer Dale warned of responding too soon to signs of improvement in the UK economy.
"There is a risk that households, businesses and financial-market participants overreact to signs of a recovery," Dale wrote in a co-authored article with the central bank's James Talbot published on the VoxEU.org website on Friday.
"Forward guidance provides a robust framework within which the Monetary Policy Committee can explore the scope for economic expansion without putting either price stability or financial stability at risk."
Mining stocks drag on falling commodities
A gauge of mining companies dropped, including BHP Billiton and Anglo American, as the price of commodities fell.
Wetherspoon slumped after reporting a flat dividend as it released its annual results.
Fresenius and Rhoen-Klinikum gained as the boards of the German companies endorsed the deal for Fresenius's Helios unit to buy 43 hospitals from Rhoen-Klinikum.
Carlsberg rallied after the brewer said it expects to sustain the 5% organic sales growth in the China from the first half.
TDC plunged as a group of private-equity firms sold a 4.17bn-krone interest in the company.
Kabel Deutschland increased after Vodafone said at least 75% of the German company's shares
supported its €7.7bn bid before Thursday's deadline expired.
Other asset classes decline
Brent crude futures fell $0.491 to $112.080 per barrel on the ICE.
The euro dropped 0.24% to 1.3267 US dollars.