- Obama warns Russia of possible further sanctions
- Ukraine to receive aid from IMF
- UK retail sales rise more than expected
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European stocks were mixed as investors weighed remarks from US President Barack Obama on Crimea and a better-than-forecast report on UK retail sales.
Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Obama warned Russia that it faces further sanctions if it continues to take steps to further destabilise Ukraine.
He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was mistaken if he thought he could get away with the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine as it had violated international law.
Obama added: "And if the Russian leadership stays on its current course, together we will ensure that this isolation deepens. Sanctions will expand. And the toll on Russia's economy, as well as its standing in the world, will only increase."
Meanwhile the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today agreed to provide the Ukraine with $27bn in financial aid, in a deal to be approved by the agency's board next month.
The agreement is on a $14-18bn standby credit for Kiev in return for tough economic reforms that will unlock further aid from the European Union, the US and other lenders over two years.
UK retail sales
UK retail sales rose by 3.7% in February against the same month a year ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. That was better than economists' forecasts of a 2.5% gain and compared to a 4.4% year-on-year increase in January.
Retail sales climbed 1.7% against January, when they fell 2%, topping economists' hopes of 0.5%, the ONS said.
In the US later on, the final estimate of gross domestic product is tipped to register 2.7% annualised growth in the fourth quarter, up from the initial 2.4% estimate.
Separate data may show initial jobless claims rose to 323,000 in the week ended March 22nd from 320,000 the prior period, according to analysts' forecasts.
A report on pending home sales is expected to show a 8.5% year-on-year drop in February following a 9.1% decrease a month earlier.
RBS and Santander fail US stress test
The UK's Royal Bank of Scotland and Spain's Santander slumped after their US units failed the Federal Reserve's stress test.
H&M declined as the European fashion retailer reported a rise in first quarter net income that missed market predictions.
Babcock International Group dropped as the engineering-services company agreed to buy private equity-owned Avincis for £920m to expand in helicopter servicing.
Daily Mail & General Trust slipped as the newspaper publisher said its results for the year will reflect the adverse effect of the pound's gain versus the US dollar.
Alstom retreated following reports the French maker of trains and power equipment is facing a US bribery case.
United Internet gained after the German provider of phone and internet services posted a rise in 2013 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation on an increase in sales.
Raiffeisen Bank International advanced after the Austrian bank reported an increase in fourth-quarter net income that exceeded analysts' estimates.
JC Decaux SA was higher after Credit Suisse raised its rating on the billboard company to 'outperform' from 'neutral'.
The euro fell 0.17% to $1.3758.
Brent crude futures rose $0.437 to $107.500 per barrel, according the ICE.