- Fed policy meeting looms
- House passes US budget deal
- Eurozone employment holds steady
- UK construction activity rises
- Spanish inflation increases
FTSE 100: 0.17%
CAC 40: 0.34%
FTSE MIB: 0.41%
IBEX 35: 0.65%
Stoxx 600: 0.19%
European stocks edged higher as investors zoned in on next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting.
Upbeat economic data in the US has fuelled speculation that the central bank will announce a reduction to its $85bn per month in bond purchases at the December 17th to 18th meeting.
"Everything we see and hear at the moment seems to support a reduction in asset purchases next week, from jobs figures to consumer behaviour and even fiscal issues," said Alpari analyst, Craig Erlam.
The most recent development supporting arguments for a taper was the US budget deal which passed through the House last night.
The budget, drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, would set overall spending levels for the current budget year and the one that begins on October 1st next year.
The budget proposal next goes to the Democrat-led Senate for approval and President Barack Obama has already backed the bill.
It aims to reduce the federal deficit by up to $23bn and avoids a repeat of October's government shutdown.
"With the budget being passed easily in the House yesterday, I expect the vote in the Senate to run just as smoothly, which may give the Fed confidence that the economy can take a small taper," Alpari's Erlam added.
Eurozone employment unchanged
Eurozone employment remained unchanged for the second consecutive quarter in the three months to September, adding to signs that the bloc's labour market recovery is stagnant.
On a year-on-year basis employment fell by 0.8% in the third quarter against a 1.1% decline previously. Germany's employment rose while France registered no change, Italy was flat and Spain declined.
In the UK, construction rose by 2.2% in October compared to a month earlier when it fell by 0.5%. Economists had forecast a 1.6% increase.
In Spain, the consumer price index(CPI) increased in November by 0.2% year-on-year, three tenths of a percentage point higher than in the prior month.
The European Union harmonised CPI advanced 0.3%, as expected by a consensus of analysts, compared to a flat 0.0% a month earlier.
climbed after its diabetes pill won the support of a US advisory panel.
RSA Insurance slumped after reducing its 2013 forecast due to issues with its Irish reserves and the impact of adverse European weather. The London-listed insurer also announced the resignation of Chief Executive Simon Lee.
Peugeot plunged as General Motors announced it is selling its entire 7% holding through a private placement to institutional investors.
ARM Holdings gained after the UK chip designer said it would buy Geometrics, which provides lighting technology for the gaming and entertainment industry.
The euro fell 0.18% to $1.3728.
Brent crude futures held at $108.670 per barrel, according to ICE data.