- BoE and Fed release meeting minutes
- UK jobs data to be published
- US housing starts out later
- Weidmann says OMT threatens ECB independence
FTSE 100: 0.12%
CAC 40: 0.11%
FTSE MIB: -0.04%
IBEX 35: -0.09%
Stoxx 600: 0.09%
European stocks were little changed ahead of the release of meeting minutes from the Bank of England (BoE) and the Federal Reserve.
First up, the BoE will unveil further details of its meeting earlier this month when the Bank decided to keep interest rates at the record low of 0.5% and asset purchases at £375bn.
The central bank had vowed to maintain its benchmark rate at least until unemployment falls to 7% but a faster than expected pick up in the labour market prompted the BoE to change its forward guidance.
The jobless rate for the three months to December will be released this morning and is expected to hold at 7.1%. UK employers may have added 350,000 jobs during the period, up from 280,000 in the prior three months, according to economists' forecasts.
Jobless claims are tipped to fall by 20,000 in January, compared to a drop of 24,000 in December.
Later in the session the US Federal Reserve's meeting minutes will be out.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) last month decided to scale back monthly bond purchases for the second time by $10bn to $65bn.
New Chair Janet Yellen subsequently indicated that the Fed was likely to continue reducing its monetary stimulus after each meeting until ending it all together later this year.
The FOMC interest rate minutes will shed further light behind the Fed's decision to taper and possibly provide clues as to its next policy move.
Also in the US today is the release of reports including MBA mortgage applications for the week to February 14th and US housing starts for January.
Several Fed officials are also scheduled to speak.
OMT threatens ECB independence, says Weidmann
German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann has warned that the European Central Bank's (ECB) outright monetary transactions (OMT) programme could threaten the Eurozone monetary authority's independence.
The programme allows unlimited purchases of government bonds under certain conditions.
In an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Weidmann claimed that a central bank becomes a "political prisoner" when it purchases government bonds and that the OMT would make it difficult to conduct monetary policy.
Lafarge, Carlsberg gain
Lafarge and Carlsberg advanced after they both posted fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates.
Vodafone edged lower after saying shareholders will receive 0.026 Verizon Communications shares
for every Vodafone share from the sale of the telecom giant's stake in its joint-venture Verizon Wireless.
TF1 declined as the French TV channel reported full-year revenue that fell short of market expectations.
Credit Agricole rallied after swinging to a fourth-quarter profit from a record loss a year earlier.
The euro fell 0.02% to $1.3756.
Brent crude futures dropped $0.291 to $110.140 per barrel, according to data from the ICE.