- Analysts say US data points to economic recovery
- Cyprus meets to vote on measures to unlock EU bailout
- German business confidence contracts
FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.73%
Ibex 35: -0.16%
Stoxx 600: -0.03%
European equities finished mixed Friday as economists provided an upbeat outlook on the US economy and Cyprus sought to unlock a bailout to save its banking sector.
Economists say the latest US data on jobs, housing and investment signal growth despite concerns over the country's debt.
It comes despite comments from Representative Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, this month that the US debt was hurting the economy.
A study of the subject, by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, supported his claims as it found that nations with debt loads greater than 90% of their economies grow more slowly.
However, some analysts have disputed the claims.
"The argument that heavy debt loads slow economic growth doesn't hold a lot of water," Guy LeBas, Chief Fixed Income Strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, told Bloomberg.
Across the other side of the world, Cyprus is also working to find a way to fix its debts.
European leaders on Friday met with the Cypriot government Friday to vote on measures to unlock bailout funds to save the country's banking sector and keep it in the euro.
It comes after Cyprus rejected a proposal to tax bank deposits as a way to raise the €5.8bn required to receive bailout funds from the European Union (EU).
Russia has said it would provide Cyprus aid but only once it had a deal with the 17 nation bloc.
Cyprus has until Monday to reach a solution before the European Central Bank cuts off emergency funding to the island nation's banks.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition has criticised the handling of the bailout proposals.
"We're not ready to accept solutions that are full of wind," Michael Fuchs, Deputy Parliamentary Leader of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, said.
"I don't think it's appropriate to play poker in this matter, especially when you think that there's a risk that two banks will become insolvent next Monday."
German business confidence falls
Germany's business confidence retreated in March, according to Friday's Ifo Business Climate Index for industry and trade.
The index registered an unexpected drop to 106.7 from February's reading of 107.4 and missed the 107.6 consensus estimate.
Ifo Institute President Hans-Werner Sinn said companies were "slightly less positive" about their future business outlook as the indicator fell 103.6 from 104.6.
However, Finn said firms assessed their current business situation "almost as positively" as last month.
"The German economy remains on track in a challenging environment thanks to strong domestic demand," he concluded.
surge on buy back plan
AstraZeneca's shares advanced after the UK drugmaker announced plans to reshape research and development and return to growth.
BP climbed as the oil company said it will buy back $8.0bn of shares from investors after completing the sale of 50% of Russian oil producer TNK-BP.
Luxury fashion label Mulberry retreated as it said that lower tourist spending in London will reduce pre-tax profit for the year ending March 31st to about £26m from £36m.
Homeserve plunged after saying it will cuts jobs in the UK as the Financial Services Authority continues to investigate the repair-service provider over alleged mis-selling.
Other asset classes mixed
The euro/dollar rose 0.71% to the 1.2991 dollar
Front month Brent crude future dropped by 0.047 dollars to the 107.420 dollar mark on the ICE.