- UK Q4 GDP confirmed at 0.7 per cent
- German consumer confidence rises
- ECB to revise inflation forecasts, Credit Suisse predicts
FTSE 100: -0.22%
CAC 40: -0.30%
FTSE MIB: 0.03%
IBEX 35: 0.22%
Stoxx 600: -0.21%
European stocks were little changed as fourth quarter UK economic growth was confirmed and as German consumer confidence rose.
The Office for National Statistics said UK gross domestic product (GDP) in the final three months of 2013 rose 0.7% quarter-on-quarter, unrevised from an earlier estimate and in line with forecasts. Growth was driven by consumer spending and a turnaround in the housing market.
Barclays said, "not only has the economy moved towards a more sustainable composition of domestic demand, but it is also making some headway towards export driven growth.
"Of course it is still early days, but if continued this kind of growth would lead the economy towards a more sustained recovery."
Year-on-year, the economy expanded by 1.8%, down from the previously estimated 1.9%.
In Germany, GfK's forward-looking index for consumer confidence rose to 8.5 in March from a revised 8.3 in February, surprising analysts who had expected a reading of 8.2.
The report said Germans were optimistic overall and continued to see Europe's biggest economy on the path to recovery.
The upbeat data comes ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB)'s policy meeting next week.
ECB President Mario Draghi has indicated the central bank will consider action to tackle falling inflation and high unemployment at its March meeting following the release of more comprehensive data, including economic forecasts.
The ECB has come under mounting pressure to enact new policy measures as inflation remains well under the 2% target. Inflation was revised to 0.8% year-on-year in January.
"Despite an upward revision in the final HICP print, leaving it unchanged on the month at 0.8% yy, we would argue that this figure remains a downward surprise," Credit Suisse said.
"As a result, we expect that the ECB's staff should revise down its inflation projections in March. We think the weakness in inflation was not only due to energy."
The broker added that is sees the ECB announcing an average inflation rate of 1.6% in two years' time, with a modestly upward sloping trajectory to end 2016 with an inflation rate at 1.6-1.7%.
Later on in the US will be the release of new home sales, which is anticipated to have fallen 3.4% in January, compared to a 7% drop in December. It will otherwise be a quiet session in the US in terms of data releases.
Jeronimo Martins, InBeV
Jeronimo Martins declined after the Portuguese retailer posted 2013 net income that missed market consensus.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world's biggest brewer, advanced as it reported a rise in fourth quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations.
Repsol rallied following news Argentina will issue as much as $6bn in bonds that the Spanish oil company can sell or hold until maturity.
Swiss Life climbed as the life insurer raised its 2013 dividend to 5.50 francs a share from the previous year's 4.50 francs against analysts' predictions for no change.
Ferrovial SA gained after reporting 2013 net income that exceeded forecasts.
The euro fell 0.04% to $1.3740.
Brent crude futures dropped $0.155 to $109.340 per barrel, according to data on the ICE.