- Chinese imports plunge
- BoE keeps policy unchanged
- Greek bond sale gets strong demand
- Economists see ECB easing policy in June
FTSE 100: 0.09%
CAC 40: -0.27%
FTSE MIB: -0.62%
IBEX 35: -0.99%
Stoxx 600: -0.24%
European stocks erased earlier gains as mining stocks fell after a report showed Chinese imports dropped more than expected.
Imports plunged 11.3% in March, missing the consensus forecast of a 2.4% increase.
Exports fell 6.6% last month, compared to expectations of a 4% rise.
It gave China's economy a trade surplus of $7.7bn, well above forecasts for $900m and compares with February's $22.98bn deficit.
Bank of England keeps policy unchanged
The Bank of England (BoE) decided to keep its policy on hold, as expected.
The central bank maintained interest rates at the record low of 0.5% and asset purchases at £375bn.
Greece bond sale
Greece closed its first debt sale since its bailout in 2010 today and sold more than expected at lower costs thanks to high levels of investor demand.
Athens sold €3bn in five-year Greek bonds with a final yield of 4.95%, according to Bloomberg. The order book exceeded €20bn.
In France, industrial output fell 0.8% year-on-year in February following a 0.2% increase a month earlier, missing expectations for a 0.3% drop.
Manufacturing production in France climbed 1.2% in February, compared to a 1.6% gain in January, beating analysts' forecasts for a 1% rise.
European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi is expected to take policy action against the threat of deflation in June, according to economists.
Almost two-thirds of respondents in the Bloomberg Monthly Survey predicted the ECB will ease policy in two months.
The ECB this month decided to keep policy on hold despite calls to tackle falling prices. Inflation in the Eurozone fell to 0.5% in March from 0.7% in February, marking its lowest rate since November 2009.
Telecom Italia rallies on Sky deal reports
Telecom Italia's shares
advanced on market speculation that the country's largest phone company is teaming with Rupert Murdoch's Sky Italia for an internet-TV service to attract broadband customers.
Marks and Spencer Group dropped after reporting depressed fourth-quarter margins as the retailer discounted heavily to keep up with growing competition.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton climbed after posting the fastest growth in fashion and leather-goods sales in two years.
The euro rose 0.11% to $1.3870.
Brent crude futures fell $0.409 to $107.540 per barrel, according to the ICE.