- Investors watching Eurozone and US PMIs
- Analysts expect pick up in trading this week
- Chinese services PMI falls
FTSE 100: -0.02%
CAC 40: -0.06%
FTSE MIB: 0.53%
IBEX 35: 0.44%
Stoxx 600: -0.13%
European stocks were little changed as investors awaited a slate of data in the Eurozone and the US following a quiet week.
Analysts said this week could see a return to normal trading volumes with the majority of traders coming back from their Christmas vacations.
Kicking off the week is the release of the Eurozone purchasing managers' index (PMI) figures. The PMI Composite, which gauges manufacturing and services activity, is expected to come in at a reading of 52.1 in December, in line with the previous month. A reading above 50 signals expansion.
Also out this morning in the Eurozone is a report on investor confidence which is forecast to show the index increased to 9.3 in January from 8 last month.
German inflation data will be unveiled this afternoon with economists anticipating the consumer price index to rise 1.4% in December from 1.3% the prior month.
In the US later on, the Institute for Supply Management will report its manufacturing PMI Composite for December which is estimated to jump to 54.5 from 53.9 in November.
Separately, data may show factory orders in the US rose 1.7% in November compared to a 0.9% fall in October, according to the consensus forecast.
Any sign pointing to continued recovery in the world's biggest economy is likely to fuel speculation that the Federal Reserve may introduce a further scaling back of monetary stimulus at its meeting this month.
Last month the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said it would start reducing monthly bond purchases to $75bn from $85bn.
"It really is going to be quite a chaotic week in the financial markets, particularly the latter half of the week, which will include the first batch of company earnings, the FOMC minutes from last month's meeting, Bank of England and European Central Bank rate decisions and the December US jobs report," Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari, pointed out this morning.
"There's still plenty to focus on in the first half of the week though, especially compared to the last couple of weeks, which were severely lacking in data, earnings and trading volumes."
In a disappointing start to the week, however, the Chinese HSBC services PMI for December dropped to 50.9 from 52.5 in November. While it was still above the 50 level that indicates expansion, analysts fear it could be an early warning sign that the world's second largest economy may struggle to maintain growth.
Sanofi slumped after JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered its recommendation on the drugmaker to 'neutral' from 'overweight', citing a possible weak earnings outlook in 2014.
Centamin advanced after its full-year production exceeded its forecast.
Marks and Spencer declined as investors predicted a poor earnings report for the retailer this week.
The euro rose 0.04% to $1.3594.