- US growth and jobs data due
- China to boost government spending
- Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus sign treaty
- ECB's Linde says efforts needed to boost Eurozone
FTSE 100: 0.15%
CAC 40: -0.30%
FTSE MIB: -0.47%
IBEX 35: -1.31%
Stoxx 600: 0.88%
European stocks were little changed ahead of the release of US data on economic growth and weekly jobless claims.
The Commerce Department will this afternoon release its gross domestic product (GDP) data which is expected to reveal the world's biggest economy shrank 0.5% in the first quarter following a preliminary estimate of 0.1% annualised growth. GDP rose at a 2.6% annualised pace in the previous period.
Separately, a report on initial jobless claims for the week ended May 24th is forecast to come in at 317,000, compared to 326,000 a week earlier.
Pending home sales may have fallen 8.9% year-on-year in April following a 7.4% drop in March, according to the consensus forecast.
In China, the Ministry of Finance has said it will accelerate this year's government budget spending and warned that the difficulties facing the economy must not be underestimated.
Spain's first quarter GDP growth was confirmed at 0.4% quarter-on-quarter but revised down to 0.5% year-on-year from the original reading of 0.6%.
The year-on-year change was still a marked improvement from the 0.2% annual contraction registered in the fourth quarter, which Spanish statistics agency INE attributed to "a larger contribution from internal demand to aggregate growth, that was partially offset by the negative impact from external demand".
Meanwhile, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a treaty today creating a vast trading bloc which they hope will challenge the economies of the European Union (EU), the US and China. The move comes amid EU and US sanctions placed on Russia over the turmoil in Ukraine.
Eurozone economy still fragile, says Linde
Despite the "gentle recovery" started in 2013, Bank of Spain Governor Luis Linde has warned that the Eurozone economy continues to be "fragile" and that "important efforts" are still needed.
In a speech on Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) member indicated that the current recovery "is being supported fundamentally by a gradual reanimation of internal demand".
However, he pointed out that the recent weak reading in the region's GDP for the first three months of the year "illustrates the still fragile and uneven character of this economic improvement in the euro-area".
The ECB is scheduled to announce its next monetary policy decisions on June 5th. President Mario Draghi has said the ECB is ready to act if necessary to boost the stagnant recovery.
Man Group, Tate & Lyle
Man Group gained after confirming it is in talks to buy US money manager Numeric Holdings.
Tate & Lyle retreated after posting full-year profit that missed the consensus estimate.
UbiSoft Entertainment advanced after saying its Watch Dogs game broke the company's record for first-day sales.
Kingfisher slumped after reporting first quarter profit that fell short of analysts' expectations.
Aggreko dropped after appointing Centrica's Chris Weston as Chief Executive Officer.
The euro rose 0.19% to $1.3617.
Brent crude futures increased $0.254 to $110.090 per barrel, according to the ICE.