-Investors wating for ECB press conference
-Successful Spanish and Italian Treasury debt auctions
-Spanish 10 year bond yields drop 18bp to 4.95 per cent
FTSE Mibtel: 0.68%
Ibex 35: -0.05%
Stoxx 600: -0.05%
The tone to trading on the main European equity benchmarks has improved somewhat but remains mixed ahead of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's press conference, which is scheduled to start at 13:30.
Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England opted to maintain their current monetary policy settings.
It will be interesting to see if the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's decision to relax the requirements for bank's liquidity buffers -taken this past Sunday - influences the ECB's thinking.
Both the Spanish and Italian treasury auctions this morning have been successful.
For its part the Spanish Treasury sold €5.8bn in debt instruments, versus the €5bn that were expected. The bid-to-cover ratio for the 5 year debt on offer rose to 2.6, versus 1.57 last time, and to 2.9 for the tranche of 13 year debt being sold, versus 2.06 the last time around. "Influenced by this past Sunday's decision from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision?" economists at Digital Look are asking.
Acting as a backdrop, speaking on Bloomberg TV PIMCO's Andrew Bosomworth forecast that the ECB will cut rates, but not at today's meeting.
Automobile sector revs motor
The minority owner of Chrysler Group LLC on Wednesday pushed the US automaker to take the first step toward becoming a public company again by demanding that company parent Fiat SpA register shares
with US regulators, Reuters reports.
Volkswagen has announced that it wishes to take full control over Munich based truck manufacturer Man.
Banque PSA, the financial arm of loss-making French car maker Peugeot, will sign around €5bn (£4,3bn) of loans as part of an €18.5bn debt rescue plan in the next few days, according to bankers.
The best performance from a sector stand-point is now to be seen in the following industrial groups: Technology (2.06%), Automobiles (1.15%) and Banks (0.66%).
Sharp rise in business confidence
French manufacturing production grew by 0.2% month-on-month in November (Consensus: -0.2%).
The French central bank's business confidence gauge rose to 95 for December from 91 for the previous month (Consensus: 91).
Dutch consumer prices increased to a 2.9% year-on-year rate in December, after a 2.8% pace in the month before (Consensus: 2.6%).
German machinery orders fell by 3% in November, according to business group VDMA.
Slight gains in single currency
The euro/dollar is now edging higher by 0.35% to the 1.31 dollar
Front month Brent crude futures are rising by 0,869 dollars to the 112.73 dollar per barrel mark on the ICE.