- US data on GDP, jobless claims, home sales
- UK GDP report
- US to hit debt ceiling on October 17th, says Lew
FTSE 100: -0.09%
CAC 40: -0.22%
FTSE MIB: -0.44%
IBEX 35: 0.11%
Stoxx 600: -0.07%
European stocks were mixed as investors sat on their hands ahead of US economic growth data and jobless figures.
US gross domestic product (GDP), released later on Thursday, is forecast to rise to an annualised 2.6% in the second quarter from 2.5% in the prior three months.
Another report will show initial jobless claims increased to 325,000 in the week ended September 20th, from 309,000 a week earlier, economists predict.
US pending home sales rose 6.3% year-on-year in August compared to 8.6% in July, consensus revealed ahead of the report's unveiling.
The data comes as Federal Reserve policymakers turn to economic indicators as they weigh up when to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases.
The Fed last week shocked the market with its decision to keep quantitative easing unchanged until it sees further signs of recovery.
Fed officials Jeremy Stein, Narayana Kocherlakota and Sandra Pianalto will speak in the US on Thursday, which might provide more indication as to where the central bank is headed in its plans for stimulus.
Debt ceiling talks are also taking precedence in the US.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said on Wednesday the US will hit its debt ceiling by October 17th, leaving the government with $30bn of cash - half the money it needs to pay its bills.
The government reached its $16.7tn debt limit in May and has since been using measures such as suspending US investments in federal employee trust funds to create additional borrowing room.
"Clearly investors hate the uncertainty surrounding these talks," said Alpari Market Analyst, Craig Erlam.
"Investors are currently concerned about the possibility of a partial government shutdown if no budget for the next year is passed by next week, followed by a default on US debt in the middle of the month, should the debt ceiling not be raised.
"Of course neither of these scenarios are likely to happen, although both the Democrats and the Republicans have irresponsibly put politics in front of the national interest before (the sequester) so they cannot be ruled out."
In the UK, a report on GDP is tipped to rise 0.7% in the second quarter, in line with the last quarter of growth.
ICAP to pay fine for LIBOR scandal
Interdealer broker ICAP slumped after agreeing to pay £55m to UK and US regulators as part of the long-running scandal over the alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) by three former employees between 2006 and 2011.
Vinci advanced following reports the European builder could sell all or part of its parking unit.
H&M rallied after reporting a 22% rise in third quarter profit to 4.43bn kroner, beating analysts' expectations.
Colruyt declined as the Belgium food retailer forecast full-year net income of €369m, compared with estimates of €381.2m.