- US manufacturing data in focus
- Spanish bank to be bought by consortium
- Nokia's shares
soar on Microsoft deal
FTSE 100: 0.20%
FTSE MIB: 0.32%
IBEX 35: 0.36%
Stoxx 600: 0.22%
European stocks were mixed as investors awaited the release of US manufacturing and construction data.
The ISM US Manufacturing report for August is anticipated to fall to 54 from the prior month's 55.4 when released at 10:00 New York time. A reading over 50 signals expansion.
US construction spending for July is expected to show a 0.3% rise, compared to a fall of 0.6% in June.
It comes a day after purchasing managers' index (PMI) reports showed manufacturing expanded in the UK, the Eurozone and China.
Policymakers have been turning to economic data to see whether the US has recovered enough for the Fed to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases.
Economists predict the central bank will start trimming its stimulus at the highly awaited policy meeting on September 17th to 18th.
"This month could prove to be one of the most important for financial markets this year as many expect the Federal Reserve to start the tapering process in two weeks or so," said Ishaq Siddiqi, Market Strategist at ETX Capital.
In the UK, the British Retail Consortium said the total value of retail sales rose 3.6% year-on-year in August after a 3.9% increase in July. Growth in home items, including furniture and flooring sales, were the best performers while food was the slowest category after a bumper year during the Olympics when people stocked up on celebratory fare for the event.
Private equity groups to buy Spanish bank
A consortium of private equity groups are set to buy an arm of Nova Galicia, one of Spain's nationalised lenders, in what would mark the first significant foreign investment in the country's banking system since the start of the financial crisis.
The consortium, which includes US buyout firm Centerbridge and London-based Anacap, are in late stage talks to acquire Nova Galicia's subsidiary Evo Banco. The deal is expected to close in the next two weeks, people familiar with the situation told the Financial Times.
It would be the first time a lender owned by the Frob, Spain's state bank rescue fund, has been bought by a foreign investor since the crisis prompted the country's government to request a European bailout of its financial sector last year.
Nokia gains on Microsoft deal
Nokia shares soared after Microsoft agreed to buy its struggling mobile phone business for $7bn.
Vodafone declined as it forecast an adjusted operating profit of £5bn for 2014 after Verizon Communications said it would acquire the UK telecommunications company's stake in their joint venture Verizon Wireless.
Suedzucker AG fell after Exane BNP Paribas SA reduced its rating of the maker of sugar, starch and bakery additives to 'underperform' from 'neutral', saying the company will require significant restructuring to prosper amid tough competition.
Dufry advanced as the operator of duty-free stores said it signed long-term contracts with airports in Brazil and is investing $250m to $275m in its projects in the country.
Other asset classes slide
The euro fell 0.20% against the 1.3166 US dollar.
Brent crude slipped $0.096 to $114.220 per barrel on the ICE.