- German economic sentiment falls
- Bundesbank said to back ECB on stimulus
- EU accused of 'irresponsible' policy towards Russia
FTSE 100: 0.11%
CAC 40: 0.25%
FTSE MIB: -0.47%
IBEX 35: 0.18%
Stoxx 600: 0.21%
European stocks were mixed after a survey showed German economic sentiment dropped sharply this month.
The ZEW Center for European Economic Research's index for measuring investor and analyst expectations for Germany's economy fell to 33.1 in May from 43.2 the previous month, trailing estimates of 40.
"The fifth consecutive decline in ZEW investor sentiment in May suggests that the German economic recovery might not gain much pace from here," Capital Economics said.
The euro fell 0.27% to $1.3720 following the release.
Elsewhere in Germany, the nation's central bank is reportedly willing to back an array of stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) next month, including a negative rate on bank deposits and purchases of packaged bank loans if needed to fight weak inflation.
A person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that the ECB staff inflation expectations for 2016, due in early June, will be key to the Bundesbank's appetite for further monetary easing.
ECB President Mario Draghi last week indicated that additional easing was possible given the low annual inflation of 0.7% which is well below the monetary authority's 2% target.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has accused the European Union (EU) of an "irresponsible" policy towards Russia after Brussels expanded sanctions on Moscow.
The EU extended sanctions to include two Crimean companies and 13 individuals connected with the unrest in Ukraine.
"We are sorry to see the sanctions express steaming downhill as if the driver wasn't there. I mean their [EU's] policy is absolutely feckless, irresponsible and out of touch with reality," Ryabkov said today, according to Russian state media website Ria Novosti.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said he believes Russia is trying to push its will onto countries in Eurasia. Speaking at the Moldova State University today, he added that "all countries must have the right to choose their own political and security destinies".
His remarks came as Donetsk and Luhansk backed a plan to separate from Ukraine. The region's republic have now started negotiations on unification, spokesman for the Donetsk People's Republic told RIA Novosti today.
Airbus rallies after first quarter results
Airbus advanced after the French plane-maker reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates.
Telecom Italia SpA slumped after posting quarterly revenue that missed market forecasts.
ThyssenKrupp jumped as the steelmaker said 2014 profit excluding one-time items will almost double from last year's €586m as it reported a rise in first-quarter earnings.
AstraZeneca edged higher on reports that said Pfizer may increase the value of its current bid for the UK drugmaker.
easyJet declined after reporting a fall in first half losses but warning of increased levels of competitor capacity in the second half.
Brent crude futures rose $0.331 to $108.770 per barrel, according to the ICE.