- Investors eye euro-area confidence and US home sales
- Nowotny sees no need for ECB rate cut
- UK mortgages, GDP expands
- Germany's GDP grows in second quarter
FTSE 100: 0.20
CAC 40: -0.45%
FTSE MIB: -0.54%
IBEX 35: -0.05%
Stoxx 600: 0.02%
European equities were mixed at the midday mark as investors waited for reports on euro-area consumer confidence and US home sales.
European Commission data is expected to show euro-area consumer sentiment rose to the highest level in two years in August. An index of household confidence is projected to increase to minus 16.5 from minus 17.4 in July.
The US Commerce Department will release a new home sales report which is anticipated to show a 2% fall in July to an annualised pace of 487,000 houses, from a 497,000 rate a month earlier.
In the UK, gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter was revised upwards to 0.7% by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
GDP was up 0.1% from the initial estimate released in July. Compared to a year ago, it was 1.4% higher. The ONS said the revision reflected growth across agriculture, construction, production and services.
In other good news for Britain's economy, mortgage approvals for house purchases grew 31% to 37,200 in July compared to a year earlier.
The British Bankers' Association (BBA) said the government schemes such as Funding for Lending and Help to Buy combined with record low interest rates boosted demand in the sector.
Meanwhile, in Europe's periphery economic indicators have confirmed that conditions are gradually improving, according to Credit Suisse.
"Second quarter GDP was better than expected for all peripheral countries while business and consumer confidence indicators tend to confirm that a fragile recovery is currently under way," the analyst said.
ECB's Nowotny sees no need for rate cut
European Central Bank (ECB) governing council member Ewald Nowotny has signalled that the recent positive news on the Eurozone economy has taken away the need for the euro-area's monetary authority to implement further rate cuts.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV at Jackson Hole, he said a stream of good news meant he did "not see many arguments now for a rate cut".
However, Nowotny stopped short of suggesting that the ECB will immediately embark on policy tightening. "The most recent developments will have no immediate effects on the policy of the European Central Bank," he clarified.
The ECB's next meeting is scheduled for September 5th.
German bonds fall as GDP expands
Germany's government bonds fell for a third day after a report showed second quarter economic growth climbed 0.7% in line with estimates.
The Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said a pick-up in consumption and a rebound in investment helped stimulate recovery in Europe's biggest economy.
Capital investment jumped 1.9% from the three months through March, the first expansion in three quarters, and consumption increased 0.5%.
The data comes ahead of the country's federal elections on September 22nd. "The election is widely seen as an indicator of Europe's future, but Europe has hardly featured in the campaign so far," Credit Suisse pointed out.
"This is because in parliament all major parties have supported [Angela] Merkel's stance of no alternative to the government's rescue operations. And her policies have paid off."
surged following news the German government could sell its 17% stake in the country's second biggest bank to another European lender to make sure the bank is purchased by a preferred bidder.
Afren plunged after the oil explorer said first-half net income dropped to $79.6m from $100.7m.
ING gained after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the shares to 'overweight' from 'equal weight'.
Croda rallied after Deutsche Bank lifted its recommendation on the maker of cosmetic ingredients to 'buy' from 'hold'.
Other asset classes edge higher
The euro/dollar rose 0.04% to the 1.3362 dollar
Brent crude futures climbed $0.236 to 110.160 per barrel on the ICE.