- Eurozone inflation declines
- Eurozone jobless rate unchanged
- US initial jobless claims drop
- US consumer confidence falls
FTSE 100: -0.70%
CAC 40: 0.60%
FTSE MIB: 0.96%
IBEX 35: 1.15%
Stoxx 600: 0.48%
European stocks finished Thursday little changed as Eurozone inflation fell and the unemployment rate held at a record high.
The consumer price index for the euro-area dropped to 0.7% in October from 1.1% in September, according to a flash estimate from the European Union's statistics office. It missed analysts' estimates for inflation to remain unchanged.
The Eurozone unemployment rate held at 12.2% last month, falling short of the forecast for the rate to fall to 12%.
However, 60,000 more Europeans were unemployed on the month, bringing the total number of jobless to 19.45m, Eurostat said.
"The latest Eurozone inflation and unemployment figures will increase pressure on the ECB to take further action to support the economy," said Capital Economics.
Eurozone officials have repeatedly highlighted the necessity of creating policies that will increase employment, particularly for the region's youth.
On the upside, the region's economy finally ended its six-quarter-long recession in the second quarter, recording growth of 0.3%.
But in another downbeat note for Europe, market research institute GfK's consumer confidence index for Germany fell to 7.0 in November from 7.1 in October. Economists had predicted a reading of 7.2.
German retail sales were up 0.2% year-on-year in September, compared to a 0.4% rise in August and a forecast for a rise of 1.1%, another report showed.
US jobless claims, FOMC decision
US initial jobless claims for the week ended October 25th declined to 340,000 compared to 350,000 a week earlier, according to the Labor Department. However, it missed the consensus forecast for 338,000 claims.
A separate report showed consumer confidence in the world's biggest economy fell for a fifth straight week. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined in the period ended October 27th to minus 37.6, the weakest reading since October 2012, from minus 36.1.
The data followed the Federal Open Market Committee's announcement last night to maintain its monthly $85bn bond buying programme, pointing to weaker economic growth that was hampered by the 16-day partial government shutdown earlier this month.
Many economists expect a reduction to quantitative easing will be held off until March 2014, but some interpreted the Fed's statement as a suggestion that this could come in December.
"The statement wasn't actually overly different from the one released in September," said Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari.
"However, investors were clearly not overly impressed with it, with many now concerned that the Fed will 'taper' in December, rather than the first quarter of next year, which many had started to believe."
Meanwhile, the Fed along with the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the Swiss National Bank announced today that their existing temporary bilateral liquidity swap arrangements are being converted to "standing arrangements" that will remain in place until further notice.
The ECB explained that the existing temporary swap arrangements have "helped to ease strains in financial markets and mitigate their effects on economic conditions" and added that it expects the new arrangement to serve as "a prudent liquidity backstop".
Croda International plunged after warning on subdued underlying market conditions the "significant devaluation of the Japanese yen and Indian rupee", and near-double-digit declines in "relatively low" margin but high volume commodity and toll manufacturing sales.
BNP Paribas advanced after the French bank reported a rise in third quarter net income that beat analysts' expectations.
Royal Dutch Shell dropped after posting a fall in profit that missed forecasts.
Air France's shares
slipped after Investec reiterated a 'sell' rating for the airline, citing a downgrade on the full-year 2014 earnings guidance.
Geberit gained after the maker of toilets and pipes reported better-than-projected third-quarter profit and confirmed full-year forecasts.
Danske Bank fell after Denmark's biggest lender reduced its 2013 forecasts and lowered its target for how much it will return to investors.
L'Oreal slumped as the beauty products maker reported sales that fell short of market estimates due to weak performance in North America.
Euro/dollar declines after inflation report
The euro was down 1.04% to $1.3593 after Europe inflation fell.
Brent crude futures dipped $1.142 to $108.620 per barrel on the ICE.