- Ukraine tensions keep markets flat
- Final Eurozone composite PMI confirmed
- Barclays falls, UBS gains after quarterly results
FTSE 100: -0.12%
Dax 30: 0.02%
Cac 50: -0.05%
FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.21%
Ibex 35: 0.45%
Stoxx 600: 0.07%
Stocks across Europe were trading in a mixed fashion on Tuesday amid heightened tensions in Ukraine as investors showed caution ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later in the week.
The Stoxx 600 benchmark index was trading just 0.1% higher by midday, as gains in Germany, Italy and Spain were partly offset by weakness in the UK and France.
Heightened tensions in Ukraine were keeping risk appetite in check after an army helicopter was shot down yesterday by pro-Russian activists near the city of Sloviansk. Deaths have been reported on both sides amid heavy fighting along the eastern border as Kiev continues its so-called 'anti-terrorist' operations.
Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads said that markets are "struggling for direction at the moment".
He continued: "The situation in Ukraine looks set to be something that will continue to influence financial markets for a considerable amount of time, and markets will struggle to push much higher until investors can see a real improvement in the situation over in Eastern Europe."
Eurozone composite PMI
Eurozone economic growth was confirmed at a three-year high on Tuesday, according to Markit's composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) which signalled an ongoing expansion for the 10th consecutive month. The final PMI reading for April remained unchanged from the 'flash' estimate of 54. This compared to the prior month's print of 53.1 and was the highest level since May 2011.
However, analysts at ETX Capital highlighted data on Monday which showed that industrial producer price inflation eased and investor confidence missed forecasts. They said: "There's certainly growing fears about low-inflation being a persistent threat in the Eurozone which will trigger a deflationary scenario that could derail the fragile Eurozone recovery."
ETX Capital said that markets are still expecting a "Fed-style quantitative easing 'big bazooka' package" from the ECB, though this is unlikely at Thursday's meeting.
Barclays and UBS in focus
UK bank Barclays was a heavy faller in London, blaming a weak performance in its investment banking arm for a 5% decline in quarterly adjusted pre-tax profit to £1.7bn in the first quarter.
Swiss peer UBS gained after beating forecasts with first-quarter profit growth of 7% to 1.05bn francs.
German luxury car maker BMW declined after reiterating what some analysts described as 'ambitious' 2014 goals. First-quarter operating profit increased 2.6%, as expected.
First-quarter earnings figures at German sportswear maker Adidas came in below forecasts, but the firm expected improved trading over the coming three months. The stock was more or less flat by midday.
UK-listed infrastructure services group Balfour Beatty was a big mover today, sinking sharply after Chief Executive Andrew McNaughton quit as the company warned on full-year profits.
The euro-dollar was trading 0.44% higher at $1.3936 by lunchtime.
Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate futures were up 0.18% at $99.66 a barrel on the NYMEX.