- Eurozone GDP and services rise
- Euro-area retail sales fall
- UK services expand
- US new home sales and jobs increase
FTSE 100: -0.38%
CAC 40: -0.53%
FTSE MIB: -0.29%
IBEX 35: -0.57%
Stoxx 600: -0.58%
European equities slumped following a mixed bag of economic data in the Eurozone, the UK and the US.
GDP figures showed the Eurozone economy expanded 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter, unchanged from its preliminary estimates and in line with market expectations.
Compared to a year ago, the economy shrank a seasonally adjusted 0.4% year-over-year in the third quarter, as expected by consensus.
The Eurozone´s service sector PMI edged up slightly to 51.2 in November from 50.9 the prior month, above the 50 level that signals expansion and forecasts for the reading to remain unchanged.
Retail sales in the euro-area unexpectedly declined 0.1% in October, compared to a rise of 0.4% in September. Economists had predicted an increase of 1%.
The reports come before the European Central Bank (ECB) holds its policy meeting tomorrow when it is anticipated to keep its monetary policy and benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.25%.
Last month the central bank surprised markets by cutting the benchmark rate due to deflation fears.
ECB President Mario Draghi said the Eurozone "may experience a prolonged period of low inflation" and that the central bank was ready to consider using all available policy tools.
Inflation is currently sitting at 0.9%, far below the ECB's target of just under, but close to, 2%.
The Bank of England also holds a meeting tomorrow, when it is expected to keep its current policy on hold.
UK and US data
UK service sector activity continued to expand in November, albeit at a slower pace, as new business rose at a rapid pace. The Markit/CIPS UK purchasing managers´index (PMI) came to 60, compared to 62.5 a month earlier and the consensus for a reading of 62. Nevertheless, it held above the 50 level that signals expansion.
US new home sales rose 25.4% month-on-month to 444,000 units in October, beating expectations for 429,000. In September sales fell 6.6% to 354,000, the lowest level observed since April 2012.
US ISM non-manufacturing composite PMI fell unexpectedly to 53.9 in November, compared to 55.4 in October and the consensus forecast of 55. A reading above 50 signals expansion.
US employers added 215,000 new jobs in November, above the previous month's 184,000 and the consensus forecast for 170,000.
US mortgage applications fell 12.8 per cent in the week to November 29th, compared to drop of 0.3 per cent a week earlier.
The Federal Reserve is monitoring economic data to assess US recovery as it judges when to begin scaling back its monthly $85bn bond-buying programme.
The central bank has indicated that a tapering of stimulus could come as soon as its next policy meeting on December 17th-18th.
"I still think this unlikely as we haven't really seen evidence that the improvement is sustainable, but that won't stop investors hedging their bets and reducing their exposure to risk assets, gold and US Treasuries, as we've seen this week," said Alpari UK analyst Craig Erlam.
Vestas Wind, Elekta
Vestas Wind Systems dropped after saying its Marena Renovables project in Mexico has been further delayed.
Elekta slumped after the maker of radiation-surgery equipment reported second-quarter operating profit that missed forecasts.
Standard Chartered declined after saying full-year operating profit at its consumer-banking unit will fall at least 10% due to weakness in Korea.
Peugeot advanced after Goldman Sachs added the shares
to its 'conviction-buy' list, citing a capital increase, asset disposals and a probable alliance in China. Renault also edged higher after the broker upgraded the carmaker to 'neutral' from 'sell'.
Sage Group rallied after saying it expects to see revenue growth of 6% by 2015.
The euro fell 0.22% to $1.3558.
Brent crude futures rose $0.115 to $112.750 per barrel, according to ICE data.