- German business confidence improves
- UK mortgage approvals rise
- US consumer confidence falls
- ECB officials speak on LTROs
FTSE 100: 0.21%
CAC 40: 0.59%
FTSE MIB 0.85%
IBEX 35: 0.58%
Stoxx 600: 0.18%
European stocks were sitting pretty as investors processed a mix of economic data in Germany, the UK and the US.
A report from the Ifo Institute showed business confidence in Germany increased at a slower-than-expected rate in September. The business climax index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 107.7 from a revised 107.6 in August. Economists had pencilled in a reading of 108.
"Investors reacted favourably to the German Ifo release this morning, despite the headline figure falling short of expectations at 107.7," Alpari Market Analyst Craig Erlam pointed out.
"The miss was due to businesses assessment of current conditions, which fell slightly from a month earlier, despite expectations of a small rise. However, going forward businesses were much more optimistic, which is much more important from an investor perspective."
In the UK, mortgage approvals rose less than forecast in August but still reached the highest level since December 2009, the British Bankers' Association said today. The number of new mortgages approved in August rose to 38,200 from July's revised total of 37,400, compared to the consensus of 38,950 approvals.
Later in the day, a report revealed US consumer confidence declined in September to a four-month low as Americans showed pessimism towards the outlook for employment. The index for consumer sentiment in the world's biggest economy fell to 79.1 from 81.5 in August. A reading of 79.9 was expected by economists.
Meanwhile, the US house price index rose 1.0% in July from 0.7% the prior month, beating the estimate for a 0.8% rise.
US policymakers are turning to economic indicators as the Federal Reserve continues to weigh up when to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases.
The Fed shocked markets last week when it announced it would keep its stimulus unchanged.
New York Fed President on Monday defended the central bank's move, saying the US economy was not ready for tapering, while St Louis Fed President James Bullard on Friday said a quantitative easing reduction could come in October.
Fed Bank of Cleveland President Sandra Pianalto and Fed Bank of Kansas President Esther George were due to speak in the US on Tuesday.
Debt ceiling talks are also in focus as the government must approve a budget to avoid a shutdown by October 1st.
ECB still deciding on LTROS, policymakers say
European Central Bank (ECB) policymakers stressed on Tuesday that a new round of long-term loans to banks was not a given.
While President Mario Draghi indicated that he's ready to provide funds to banks if needed, Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said that didn't mean they're committed to action at the moment.
"There has been no specific discussion on what the right instrument would be in case there would be a need for the ECB to act," he said at an event at the Bank of Finland in Helsinki.
Finnish central bank governor Erkki Liikanen, Austria's Ewald Nowotny and Vice President Vitor Constancio, reiterated Coeure's point.
Nokia, Total, Barclays
Nokia Corp. rallied following reports HTC infringed on two patent rights held by the Finnish phonemaker.
Total SA rose after Barclays raised its rating on the oil producer to 'equal weight' from 'underweight'.
Barclays gained following Monday's announcement that it was working to improve customer satisfaction with a review of overdraft fees.
Carnival slumped after reporting a drop in third-quarter income as the cruise operator continued to try to turn around profits following the sinking of the Costa Concordia ship off the coast of Italy last year.
Burckhardt Compression Holding declined after saying fiscal first-half net income will drop from a year ago.
Close Brothers Group jumped as the British financial services company said full-year net income increased 20% to £119.4m.
Deutsche Wohnen AG retreated following news Blackstone Group LP is selling a 4.8% stake in the German residential landlord.
Other asset classes slide
The euro fell 0.01% to the 1.3491 US dollar.
Brent crude futures dipped $0.241 to $107.900 per barrel on the ICE.