- German business confidence data out
- Eurozone inflation data to be released
- ECB signals March policy action
- Renzi appointed Italy PM
- Chinese house prices rise
FTSE 100: -0.15%
CAC 40: 0.08%
FTSE MIB: 0.11%
IBEX 35: 0.26%
Stoxx 600: -0.06%
European stocks were little changed ahead of the release of a report on German business confidence and Eurozone inflation figures.
Kicking off the session, the Ifo Institute's business climate index for Germany, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, is tipped to fall to 110.5 in February from 110.6 last month.
Eurozone inflation data will follow and is expected to confirm consumer prices rose by an annualised 0.7% in January, down from 0.8% in December - well below the European Central Bank's (ECB) 2% target.
The preliminary release last month added to pressure on the ECB to implement greater measures to combat falling prices. However, the central bank decided to hold back on policy action at its meeting earlier this month until the release of more comprehensive data in March.
"Despite ECB President Mario Draghi's best efforts to convince the markets that inflation expectations in the long term are for the rate to return to 2%, the markets are not convinced and are growing increasingly concerned about the rapid rate of disinflation," according to Alpari UK analyst Craig Erlam. "Should we see another drop in the figure today, the ECB may have no choice but to act next week."
ECB President Mario Draghi yesterday reiterated that the central bank's March policy meeting could be critical in determining whether the ECB will provide additional stimulus.
"By then we'll have the full set of information needed for us to decide whether to act or not," Draghi said at the Group of 20 Finance Ministers meeting in Sydney.
On Saturday the ECB's chief economist Peter Praet acknowledged the persistent weak price pressures in the Eurozone. However, Praet and Draghi dismissed fears of deflation.
In China, house prices in Beijing and the southern business hub of Shenzhen increased by 0.4% in January from a month earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed, the slowest pace since October 2012.
Italy's Renzi faces confidence vote
Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi faces his first confidence vote in parliament today since taking office last week. He will address the Senate at 14:00 in Rome to lay out its plans for governance and introduce his 16-member cabinet.
Separately, Renzi's chief of staff Graziano Delrio said Italy may raise taxes on gains from investing in financial instruments including government bills.
"We will consider whether we should rework the taxes on capital gains from financial investments, which at the moment are not in line with the European average of 25%," Delrio told the Italian television programme In Mezz'Ora yesterday.
Volkswagen declined after the European automaker offered to buy the remaining stake in Swedish truckmaker Scania AB for €6.7bn.
G4S slid after the Financial Times reported that a whistleblower named Malcolm Batki claimed in court proceedings that the company made an internal charge of as much as £4m to a key unit to conceal its profitability, while that unit was negotiating contracts with the Ministry of Justice.
PostNL NV slumped after the Dutch mail service reported a full-year loss that was wider than forecast by analysts.
RSA Insurance Group dropped after saying it is considering a share sale in an effort to boost capital.
The euro rose 0.04% to $1.3751.
Brent crude futures climbed $0.145 to $110.010 per barrel, according to data from the ICE.