- German GDP rises more than forecast
- China inflation increases
- Italy's Letta to resign
FTSE 100: -0.16%
CAC 40: -0.08%
FTSE MIB: 0.27%
IBEX 35: -0.24%
Stoxx 600: 0.03%
European stocks were little changed as growth in the economies of Germany, France and Netherlands beat forecasts in the fourth quarter.
German gross domestic product (GDP) rose 0.4% from the third quarter when it increased by 0.3%, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden revealed today. Economists had predicted growth of 0.3%.
While the figure surpassed expectations, UniCredit said the German economy was still "punching below its weight".
"The plus of 0.4% does not represent the 'true' underlying speed of the German economy," said Andreas Rees, Chief German Economist at UniCredit.
"More is to come, as both companies and consumers are in the run-up to a strong recovery. Growth will already accelerate markedly in 1Q14 in line with forward-looking sentiment indicators. We stick to our above-consensus GDP forecast of +2.5% for 2014 as a whole."
French GDP increased 0.3% after stagnating in the third quarter, exceeding the 0.2% consensus estimate. Barclays said: "All in all, despite only slightly positive numbers, we think this is a strong reading for the French economy."
The Dutch economy grew 0.7%, compared with estimates for a 0.3% expansion.
Eurozone GDP figures will be released at 10:00 GMT and is anticipated to show a 0.2% rise in the fourth quarter from a 0.1% climb in the previous three months.
Meanwhile in China, consumer prices rose by 2.5% year-on-year in January, matching the previous month's growth but exceeding the 2.4% forecast.
Italy's Letta to resign
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has said he will resign today after his Democratic Party pushed for a new leader.
Party leader Matteo Renzi called for a change of government yesterday following a meeting with Letta.
Renzi, who has previously accused Letta of lack of action on improving the economy, is widely expected to take over the helm without an election.
Italian 10-year bond yields were within five basis points of their lowest since 2006 following the news last night. The yield was at 3.71% at 7:26, little changed from yesterday.
Separately, Italy's GDP grew by 0.1% in the fourth quarter in line with forecasts, compared to the prior quarter when it held steady.
Anglo American edged higher are reporting a rise in 2013 underlying operating profit as currency gains offset falling commodity prices.
Fellow miners rallied including Fresnillo and Antofagasta as the price of gold and silver rose.
Marks & Spencer gained following news that the UK retailer could soon unveil plans for a share buyback.
UBM declined after Credit Suisse downgraded the media company to 'neutral' from 'outperform'.
Water company Severn Trent edged higher after revealing an in-line trading update and saying it does not expect the floods in the UK to impact its financial performance.
The euro rose 0.12% to $1.3697.
Brent crude futures fell $0.203 to $108.300 per barrel, according to the ICE.