- US, UK and Eurozone consumer confidence
- US budget deadline looms
- Carney says no to further stimulus
- ECB member says bias remains towards rate cuts
- Italian bonds decline
FTSE 100: -0.81%
CAC 40: 0.00%
FTSE MIB: -1.27%
IBEX 35: -0.47%
Stoxx 600: -0.27%
European stocks were little changed following mixed consumer confidence reports in the UK, Europe and the US.
Eurozone confidence rose in September more than analysts' expectations. An index of executive and consumer sentiment increased for a fifth month to 96.9 from a revised 95.3 in August, the European Commission in Brussels revealed, beating the forecast of 96.
In the UK, consumer confidence in September jumped to highest level since 2010 as signs of economic recovery encouraged spending. Market research group GfK's forward-looking consumer sentiment indicator rose to -10 this month compared to -13 in August. Economists were expecting a reading of -11.
US consumer confidence, on the other hand, declined to a five-month low in September. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of sentiment decreased to 77.5 this month from 82.1 in August. However, it trumped forecasts for a reading of 76.8.
The US data came amid concerns the country's government might fail to reach an agreement over the budget in time to avoid a possible shutdown.
Congress has been divided over raising the government's borrowing limit as Monday's deadline for passing the budget looms.
If the chambers do not pass a budget bill on Monday, it could lead to a government shutdown or the country defaulting from October 1st.
Some economists say a shutdown would cut into fourth-quarter economic growth by as much as 1.4 percentage points depending on its length.
"The haggling between US President Barack Obama and the Republicans has already started in the public arena, but in order to ensure that the US does not see its debt downgraded again Mr Obama needs to move this on and quickly," said Alastair McCaig, an analyst at IG.
"This will be the third time in less than two years that the US will have needed to take action to avoid hitting its debt ceiling; rather than once again kicking the can down the road they should tackle the underlying issues."
Following the Federal Reserve's shock decision last week to keep monetary stimulus unchanged, central bank officials were due to speak including Charles Evans and William Dudley.
The market is looking for any hints of whether the Fed will start scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases at its next meeting in October.
Carney votes against further QE
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said he sees no reason to continue with more quantitative easing (QE).
However, he also said that if the recovery stalls then the Bank would consider the option of further bond-buying, according to the Yorkshire Post.
"The advanced economies as a whole are doing a bit better," he told the newspaper.
"That's going to help the UK as a whole. These are more traditional export markets, so that matters. Within the UK, we are probably leading the pack of the major advanced economies as we speak right now."
His remarks boosted the pound, reaching 1.6121 against the dollar
in early trading before falling back to trade a third of a cent higher at $1.6063.
ECB's guidance deterred volatility, says Curé
European Central Bank (ECB) member Benoît Curé noted that the implementation of a forward guidance has deterred market volatility and the Eurozone monetary authority continues to have an easing bias which makes further rate cuts possible.
While admitting that it was too early to determine if the forward guidance had "worked", Curé was convinced that in its absence, "money market rates would have displayed more upward volatility than was observed".
The Frenchman said the central bank was not targeting specific value for money market rates, but sought to make sure that "their fluctuations remain within reasonable bounds and do not hurt economic recovery".
Most analysts expect ECB rates to remain at 0.5% until April 2015 and, rather than a cut, expect another round of long-term refinancing operations (LTROs) designed to flood credit markets with liquidity.
The next ECB policy decision is scheduled for October 2nd.
Tenaris, Vallourec slide
Tenaris tumbled after Bank of America Corp reduced its rating on the steel-pipe maker to 'neutral' from 'buy', citing a weak market in North America and Europe.
Another steel pipe producer, Vallourec, dropped after saying it will buy the assets of Lupatech's tubular services Rio das Ostras unit for €21m.
H&M advanced after Credit Suisse Group, Cantor Fitzgerald LP and Societe Generale lifted their ratings on the European clothing retailer.
Countrywide declined following news Alchemy Partners is selling a 5.9% stake in the UK property broker.
Vestas Wind Systems rallied after the Danish turbine maker formed a venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to develop offshore wind energy.
SEB climbed after Societe Generale lifted its rating of the maker of Tefal pans and Rowenta household appliances to a 'buy' from 'neutral'.
Italian bonds fall
Italy's government bonds declined after an auction of €6bn of debt maturing in 2018 and 2024.
The yield on 10-year securities rose five basis points to 4.39%, extending this week's gain to 11 basis points.
Brent crude futures edged up $0.027 to $109.240 per barrel on the ICE.
The euro climbed 0.39% to the 1.3542 US dollar.