- German consumer confidence rises
- UK GDP data to be released
- US new home sales out later
- Hong Kong forecasts rise in 2014 GDP
FTSE 100: -0.23%
CAC 40: -0.23%
FTSE MIB: 0.14%
IBEX 35: 0.13%
Stoxx 600: -0.27%
European stocks were mixed as investors weighed a report on German consumer confidence and awaited UK economic growth data.
GfK's forward-looking index for German consumer confidence rose to 8.5 in March from a revised 8.3 in February, surprising analysts who had expected a reading of 8.2.
The report said Germans were optimistic overall and continued to see Europe's biggest economy on the path to recovery.
In the UK, gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the fourth quarter will be released at 09:30 GMT. The Office for National Statistics is expected to confirmed its preliminary estimate of 0.7% GDP growth on the quarter. Year-on-year growth of 2.8% in the fourth quarter is also to be established, economists predict.
Later on in the US will be the release of new home sales, which is anticipated to have fallen 3.4% in January, compared to a 7% drop in December. It will otherwise be a quiet session in the US in terms of data releases.
"Today is really the calm before the storm with the next couple of days offering huge amounts of economic data across Europe, the US and Asia," said Craig Erlam, analyst at Alpari.
Chinese yuan, Hong Kong GDP
The Chinese yuan fell as the central bank lowered its daily reference rate amid speculation it is trying to halt appreciation of the currency.
The People's Bank of China cut the yuan's fixing by 0.01% to 6.1192 per dollar, the weakest since December 20th.
Nevertheless, stocks rose in China as Hong Kong forecast 3% to 4% GDP growth in 2014, slightly up from 2.9% last year.
Financial Secretary John Tsang, however, warned that the global outlook remains uncertain, highlighting the potential impact of cuts of the US Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus.
"The US economy may see some improvement in 2014. Nevertheless, there is still uncertainty over the Federal Reserve Board's exit strategy and interest rate policy. Possible market fluctuations and the risk of reversal of capital flows will cast shadows over global economic growth this year," Tsang said during his budget speech.
Capital Economics added that "because of the dollar
peg, Hong Kong is forced to adopt the same monetary policy stance as the US Fed. Tighter monetary policy is needed to guard against the economy overheating".
Airbus Group gained after the maker of consumer and military aircraft forecast profit will grow in 2014.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world's biggest brewer, advanced as it reported a rise in fourth quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations.
Jeronimo Martins declined after the Portuguese retailer posted 2013 net income that missed market consensus.
Swiss Life climbed as the life insurer raised its 2013 dividend to 5.50 francs a share from the previous year's 4.50 francs against analysts' predictions for no change.
The euro fell 0.04% to $1.3739.
Brent crude futures rose $0.009 to $109.520 per barrel, according to data from the ICE.