- Eurozone inflation stabilises
- Eurozone unemployment holds steady
- US fourth quarter GDP cut
- Ousted Ukraine President speaks
FTSE 100: -0.01%
CAC 40: 0.27%
FTSE MIB: 0.60%
IBEX 35: -0.49%
Stoxx 600: 0.24%
European stocks were little changed as investors weighed a batch of Eurozone and US economic releases.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat estimated that inflation rose 0.8% year-on-year this month, the same rate as in January and December, as expected.
Lower energy prices were offset by more expensive industrial goods and services.
Consumer prices remain well below the ECB's 2% target, piling pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to enact greater policy measures.
ECB President Mario Draghi has warned of the risk of inflation getting stuck in a "danger zone" below 1%, but has dismissed fears of deflation.
Draghi said the central bank is awaiting more comprehensive figures, including economic forecasts, in March, before weighing up whether to take action.
"We maintain our view that the ECB will cut to negative deposit rates in the second quarter," said Danske Bank Markets. "The outlook of a prolonged period of low inflation will lead to additional easing and so far ECB communication has been in favour of this instrument."
A separate report from Eurostat showed Eurozone unemployment remained at 12% in January, as predicted by analysts. The number of people without jobs edged higher to 19,175,000 from 19,158,000 in December, the statistics office said.
In Germany, retail sales climbed 0.9% year-on-year in January, compared to a 1.5% drop in December. The consensus estimate was for a 1.7% decline.
In the UK, a consumer-confidence index from GfK came in at -7 this month, the same level as in January, in line with forecasts.
US GDP falls more than forecast
US gross domestic product (GDP) rose at a revised annualised pace of 2.4%, compared to a preliminary estimate of 3.2%. Economists had pencilled in growth of 2.5%.
Pending US home sales edged higher by 0.1% on the month in January, well below the 1.8% increase expected, compared to a drop of 5.8% in December.
The University of Michigan's consumer confidence index for the month of February has come in at 81.6, down from 81.2 last month (consensus: 81.2).
MNI's Chicago manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index for the month of February edged higher by 0.2 points to reach 59.8, well above ahead of consensus estimates of 56.4.
The data comes after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank would be closely monitoring releases to see whether the recent batch of weak reports was due to the harsh winter weather. During her testimony before Senate yesterday, she also said the Fed intended to continue to taper until sometime in the fall, although they were not on a "pre-set course".
Ukraine tensions flare
Viktor Yanukovych has vowed to fight for the Ukraine as he spoke in Russia in his first public appearance since being ousted as President last week.
He insisted he was "not overthrown", but was compelled to leave Ukraine after threats to his life.
His remarks came as Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov earlier accused Russia of carrying out an invasion in Crimea after armed men took over Sevastopol and Simferopol airports. Russia denied the allegations.
Ukraine's parliament has called on the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation in Crimea while Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned of the growing threat of partition and economic collapse.
A peace deal with the European Union had been brokered to end weeks of deadly violence but it fell through over the weekend, leading to the ousting of Russian-backed Yanukovych.
Erste Group, Serco
Pearson dropped after the education publisher reported a fall in operating profit that missed consensus.
Bankia declined as Spain sold 7.5% of its stake in the lender to start recovering €22.4bn provided to recapitalise the bank.
Erste Group Bank declined as it set aside provisions for bad loans and its outlook disappointed investors.
Serco Group was higher after naming Aggreko's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rupert Soamesnew as its new CEO with effect from June.
Old Mutual increased after buying Intrinsic Financial Services for an undisclosed amount.
The euro gained 0.69% to $1.3804.
Brent crude futures rose $0.009 to $108.970 per barrel, according to data from the ICE.