- German confidence hits six-year high
- US durable goods, home sales
- Investors weigh US debt, stimulus
FTSE 100: -0.18%
CAC 40: -0.32%
FTSE MIB: 0.17%
IBEX 35: 0.09%
Stoxx 600: -0.22%
European equities were little changed on Wednesday after a report showed German consumer confidence reached a new high and before the release of US economic data.
GfK's consumer sentiment index forecast for Europe's largest economy rose from a revised 7.0 in September to 7.1 in October. Consensus had been expecting a slight increase to 7.0 from the 6.9 initial reading for September.
GfK said that the economic expectations are on a "clear upward trend" and noted that the "willingness to buy once again improved on the record value of the previous month".
The report comes ahead of a slate of US data including durable goods orders and home sales.
Orders for long-lasting US manufactured goods in August fell 0.1% compared a 7.3% decline in July, a Commerce Department report is expected to reveal later Wednesday.
A report on new home sales is pegged to show a 6.6% increase in August to 420,000 from July when sales dropped 13.4% to 394,000.
The Mortgage Bankers Association will also release data on US mortgage applications for the week ended September 20th.
Policymakers and investors are turning to economic indicators as the Federal Reserve mulls when to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases.
The central bank last week shocked investors by deciding to keep stimulus unchanged until seeing signs of further economic recovery.
Debt ceiling talks are also in focus as the government must reach an agreement on the budget to avoid a shutdown by October 1st.
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama will not negotiate with congressional Republicans on increasing the $16.7trn ceiling on the nation's borrowing authority. He added that the government probably will have less than $50bn in cash by mid-October.
"Over the next three weeks or so, US lawmakers will be battling it out to find a viable solution to raise the debt ceiling," said ETX Capital Market Strategist, Ishaq Siddiqi said.
"But, as we have seen time and time again, markets are of the view that lawmakers will find another patch make-shift solution which kicks the can further down the road."
Moody's has worked to soothe concerns over a failure to find a solution, saying a government shutdown will not affect the country's sovereign rating.
Gas Natural, Nordea Bank
Gas Natural rallied after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to 'buy' from 'neutral', citing the impending review of gas regulation in Spain as positive for the company.
Nordea Bank declined after Sweden sold its 7% stake in the Nordic lender.
ThyssenKrupp advanced after Cevian Capital bought a 5.2% stake in the German steelmaker,
Akzo Nobel fell after the European paintmaker said it will book most of the €256m second-half restructuring charges in the fourth quarter.
Carnival slumped again after reporting a drop in third-quarter income yesterday as the cruise operator continued to try to turn around profits following the sinking of the Costa Concordia ship off the coast of Italy last year.
Other asset classes increase
The euro rose 0.24% to the 1.3507 US dollar.
Brent crude edged up $1.138 to $109.890 per barrel on the ICE.