- US pending home sales rise less than forecast
- Eurozone retail sales contract
- UK house prices increase
- ECB's Draghi notes German angst against policies
FTSE 100: -0.29%
CAC 40: -0.05%
FTSE MIB: 0.06%
IBEX 35: 0.19%
Stoxx 600: -0.16%
European stocks were mixed as US economic data disappointed and Eurozone retail sales contracted for a fourth consecutive month.
US pending home sales increased by 0.2%, compared to a 1.2% fall in October, missing the forecast for a 1% rise.
The Dallas Federal Reserve's manufacturing index rose to 3.1 from 1.9 in November. Economists had forecast a reading of 4.0.
In the Eurozone, Markit's retail purchasing manager's index fell to 47.7 in December from 48 in November, below the 50 level that signals expansion.
A sharper contraction in France and slower growth in Germany offset improvement in Italy and Spain.
Trevor Balchin, Senior Economist at Markit, explained: "The retail downturn in the Eurozone continued in December. While the rate of decline in sales remains weaker than in the first half of the year, the trend over the final quarter suggests consumer spending may fall back."
In the UK, data from Hometrack revealed house prices in the UK have risen 4.4% in the past year on the back of resurgent demand and a lack of supply of new homes.
It followed a 0.3% drop in 2012 as government schemes such as Help to Buy and Funding for Lending boosted the market.
Eurozone split on interest rate cut, says ECB's Draghi
European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi admits the Eurozone is split over the monetary authority's decision to cut interest rates.
The ECB cut rates to a new record low of 0.25% in November. However, the decision met resistance from German policymakers who were concerned that low interest rates could fuel housing bubbles in major cities.
"Each time it was said, for goodness' sake, this Italian is ruining Germany," the Italian policymaker said in an interview with German daily Der Spigel.
"There was this perverse angst that things were turning bad, but the opposite has happened: inflation is low and uncertainty reduced."
He also said the Eurozone is slowly recovering from recession and there is "no need for immediate action" on any further rate cuts.
Swatch and Sanofi slide
Swatch Group declined after a fire at the watchmaker's ETA unit at Grenchen, in the Swiss canton of Solothurn.
Sanofi slumped after the after the company failed to win approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada.
International Personal Finance rallied after Numis Securities recommended a 'buy' rating, saying the recent drop in shares
presented a good investment opportunity.
Vedanta Resources advanced after its Sesa Sterlite won approval to restart its iron-ore mines in Karnataka, India.
The euro rose 0.47% to $1.3813.