- Draghi says ECB ready to act
- US jobless rate to fall below 6 per cent, says Bullard
- German consumer confidence remains at seven-year high
FTSE 100: 0.35%
CAC 40: 0.99%
FTSE MIB: 0.89%
IBEX 35: 1.50%
Stoxx 600: 0.74%
European stocks rose as investors weighed bullish remarks from central bankers and German consumer confidence data.
European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said the benefits of the accommodative monetary policy should be increasingly felt throughout the euro-area as the economy recovers.
Speaking in Paris yesterday, he said the ECB stands ready to act if necessary should the euro-area take a turn for the worse amid risks of subdued prices.
"If any downside risks to this scenario appear, we stand ready to take additional monetary policy measures that ensure our mandate is fulfilled," Draghi said.
"In other words, we will do what is needed to maintain price stability." He added that "right now, we think that the risks of having deflation are limited".
ECB governing council member and Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann yesterday said that quantitative easing was not out of the question to combat deflation.
The ECB will hold its policy meeting next week.
Speaking at the annual Credit Suisse investor conference in Hong Kong today, Federal Reserve official James Bullard said the US jobless rate will fall below 6% this year.
The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis said that the outlook for the US is "quite good," despite weak data earlier in the year.
"The biggest thing is that unemployment has come down more quickly than expected," he said.
The unemployment rate for February rose to 6.7% from a five-year low of 6.6%.
Turning to this afternoon's US news, will be the release of a report on durable good orders which is expected to show a 0.8% rise in February, compared to a 1% fall a month earlier.
German consumer confidence
German consumer confidence remained at a seven-year high, GfK revealed today.
The forward-looking consumer sentiment indicator was 8.5 points in April, in line with March, when it reached its highest point since January 2007.
The results matched forecasts and followed data from the Ifo Institute yesterday which showed German business confidence slumped for the first time in five months in March, due to worries over the turmoil in Crimea.
"It remains to be seen just how the current events in Crimea will affect the mood amongst consumers," GfK said in its monthly survey of roughly 2,000 German consumers, acknowledging that the survey was conducted before the crisis escalated.
"It cannot be ruled out that this event will unsettle consumers in the coming weeks," the research institute added.
The Moscow-led referendum and subsequent annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine have raised concerns that it could hurt German businesses which have exposure to Russia.
In Italy, consumer confidence moved up a notch in March.
National statistics office ISTAT´s index reached a reading of 101.7, after a print of 97.7 a month before.
Societe Generale, Lloyds
Societe Generale edged higher after France's second largest bank said it has postponed a sale of additional Tier 1 bonds due to the "imminent publication" of a ratings report
Lloyds Banking Group declined after the UK government sold a stake in the lender.
Standard Life was a top riser after agreeing to buy asset management business Ignis Asset Management for £390m.
Airbus Group gained after Les Echos reported it is extending its partnership with Aviation Industry Corporation of China.
Mediaset SpA advanced after the broadcaster, controlled by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, posted a return to profit for 2013.
The euro dropped 0.20% to $1.3798.
Brent crude futures rose $0.056 to $107.050 per barrel, according to the ICE.