- ECB and BoE keep policy on hold
- German factory orders fall
- US jobless claims drop
FTSE 100: 1.55%
CAC 40: 1.71%
FTSE MIB: 2.28%
IBEX 35: 1.90%
Stoxx 600: 1.49%
European stocks advanced as the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep its policy unchanged due to the "complexity of the situation" in the euro-area.
The ECB said today it would maintain interest rates at 0.25% despite mounting pressure to tackle falling inflation.
Speaking at a press conference after the announcement, ECB President Mario Draghi said the reason for holding policy was due to the "complexity" surrounding the drivers behind price pressures.
He said the ECB is awaiting more data to be released in March before deciding whether to take further action. In the meantime he reiterated that the ECB stands "ready and willing to act" if necessary.
While he said inflation would remain low for a prolonged period of time, he denied risks of deflation.
Inflation fell to 0.7% last month, well below the ECB's target of just under 2%.
The Bank of England (BoE) also decided to maintain its monetary policy settings today, leaving interest rates at their current record-low level of 0.5% for the 59th month in a row, as predicted by analysts.
Asset purchases were kept at £375bn, which was also as expected.
German factory orders, US jobs
German factory orders dropped 0.5% in December from November when they rose a revised 2.4%, the Economy Ministry revealed today. Economists had predicted an increase of 0.2%.
In the US, initial unemployment claims for the week ending February 1st fell by 20,000, to reach 331,000, according to the Labor Department. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 335,000. The prior week´s estimate was revised higher from the preliminary print of 348,000.
The data came a day ahead of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report which is expected to show businesses added 188,000 employees in January after an 87,000 increase in December.
Investors and policymakers are closely monitoring the labour market after the Federal Reserve announced a second round of monetary stimulus tapering last month.
Daimler advanced after the luxury vehicle maker posted a 45% rise in quarterly profit.
Volvo gained after reporting fourth-quarter operating profit that beat projections and saying it will cut 4,400 jobs.
AstraZeneca declined after the UK drugmaker forecast 2014 profit will decrease more than analysts had forecast.
Sanofi was lower as France's largest drugmaker estimated that annual profit will increase no more than 7%, falling short of the analyst projection of 8%.
Dassault Systemes tumbled after the French developer of 3D-design software forecast 2014 earnings that trailed market expectations.
Alcatel-Lucent was higher as the French network-equipment vendor posted its first quarterly profit in two years. Fourth-quarter net income was €134m, compared with a €1.56bn loss a year earlier.
Credit Suisse Group dropped after posting fourth-quarter profit that fell short of analysts' estimates.
The euro rose 0.53% to $1.3605.
Brent crude futures climbed $0.534 to $106.820 per barrel, according to the ICE.