- Spanish 10 year bond yields down 10bp to 5.14 per cent
- S and P says risk of Cyprus debt default is material
- Banks deposited 164.5bn euros overnight at ECB
FTSE Mibtel 30: -0.11%
Ibex 35: 0.42%
Stoxx 600: -0.09%
European equities were diverging at midday, much as central banks have been doing a little themselves of late.
That comes ahead of tonight's release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's last rate setting meeting.
Of interest, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has issued a stern warning this morning, saying that "no green shoots or passing clouds or early Spring (...) to those who are asking for relaxation, not a minute of relaxation or calmness. This has just started. The road to creating jobs is a long one."
Also worth pointing out is the rather intense speculation on Wednesday regarding the Madrid government's intention to 'cap' the interest rate yields paid by its regional governments when they issue debt.
Ahead of the Presidential elections this next weekend the very poor industrial orders data out this morning in Italy caught the markets' attention and may serve to highlight the need for macroeconomic reforms in the Mediterranean country.
By The Economists's calculations a wide-ranging set or reforms, including the labour market, energy, transport and professional services sector and redirecting some public spending from unproductive transfers to investments could boost the nation's gross domestic product by 21.9% over the next decade.
Lastly, and in what can be construed as fairly untypical remarks for a German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has today stated that a fair value for the single currency is between 1.30 and 1.40 dollars.
Lafarge leads gains
Lafarge, the world's largest cement maker, swung back to profit in the fourth quarter.
The Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial has posted better-than-expected 2012 results.
French lender Credit Agricole posted a €6.5bn full-year loss on taxes incurred as a result of the sale of its Greek unit
From a sector stand-point the best performers today are: Basic resources (-2.03%), Telecommunications (-1.04%) and Travel&Leisure (-1.02%).
Italian industrial orders crater
German consumer prices increased by 1.7% in January, as expected.
Italian industrial orders dropped by 1.8% month-on-month in December (Consensus: -0.2%).
French business confidence fell to the 90 point mark in February, after a reading of 87 in the month before (Consensus: 87).
France's consumer price index slid to a 1.2% year-on-year pace in January, following a 1.3% rate of advance in the month before (Consensus: 1.4%).
Other asset classes mixedThe euro/dollar is now edging ever so slightly lower, by 0.13% to the 1.3370 dollar
Front month Brent crude futures are now falling slightly, by 0.393 dollars to the 117.07 dollar per barrel mark on the ICE.