- Italy's Renzi asked to form new government
- Eurozone finance ministers meet
- Japanese GDP rises
- UK house prices accelerate
FTSE 100: 1.09%
CAC 40: -0.11%
FTSE MIB: 0.11%
IBEX 35: -0.15%
Stoxx 600: 0.37%
European stocks finished mixed after Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano asked Matteo Renzi to form a new government following the resignation of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
Letta stepped down on Friday after he was ousted in a vote called by Renzi at a meeting of their centre-left Democratic Party.
Renzi today said he will begin official consultations to form a new government tomorrow.
"We expect Mr Renzi to form the government in the next few days, ahead of parliament's vote of confidence, which has to be held within 10 days after the day the newly appointed PM and the government are sworn in, according to the Italian Constitution," Barclays said.
"We expect the parliament to express support for a grand coalition, which is likely to include the Democratic Party (PD), New Centre Right (NCD) and Civic Choice (CC), the same parties that had backed outgoing Prime Minister Enrico Letta's government."
Separately, Moody's lifted its outlook on Italy's credit rating late last Friday to 'stable' from 'negative', citing the government's resilient financial strength and reduced risk from contingent liabilities.
The credit rating agency noted that the resignation of Letta and the likely takeover by Renzi does not alter its expectations.
Eurozone finance ministers meet
Eurozone finance ministers met in Brussels today to continue discussions on the banking union and the economic situation in the region.
Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said there was no need to discuss fresh aid for twice-bailed out Greece before August, with a current package enough if Athens meets conditions.
The European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund first bailed out Greece in 2010 with a programme worth €110bn.
In the UK, a report from Rightmove showed house prices rose in February as demand continued to outpace supply. The average asking prices of homes was £251.964 this month, up 3.3% on January and the strongest monthly increase since October 2012. On the year, prices were up 6.9% from February, the sharpest gain since November 2007.
In Japan, gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.3% in the fourth quarter from the previous three months when it climbed 0.2%. Economists had pencilled in an increase of 0.8%. Annualised GDP rose 1%, compared to 11% in the third quarter and a forecast of 2.8%.
In the US, trading was closed today in celebration of Presidents' Day.
Luxottica Group was up as Chief Executive Officer Andrea Guerra said he will not leave the world's largest maker of eyeglasses to join Italy's new government.
RSA Insurance rallied following reports the UK insurer has started an auction of Noraxis Capital Corp.
Essar Energy jumped as the Indian power producer and oil refiner said it has formed an independent committee to consider a takeover proposal by Essar Global Fund Ltd., which currently owns a 78% stake.
Polymetal International and Randgold Resources advanced as the price of gold, silver and copper rose.
Neste Oil Oyj dropped after Nordea Bank AB reduced its rating on the stock to 'hold' from 'buy'.
Bouygues slumped after the French construction and telecommunications company said it will take a writedown in the fourth quarter of €1.4bn.
The euro increased 0.10% to $1.3707.
Brent crude futures fell $0.257 to $108.800 per barrel, according to the ICE.