- Eurozone GDP rises more than expected
- Italy's Letta resigns
- US consumer confidence unchanged
- US industrial output falls
FTSE 100: 0.06%
CAC 40: 0.63%
FTSE MIB: 1.62%
IBEX 35: 0.32%
Stoxx 600: 0.56%
European stocks gained as the Eurozone's economy grew more than expected and Italy's Prime Minister resigned to make way for a new government.
Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.3% from the third quarter when it rose 0.1%, surprising analysts who had predicted a 0.2% increase.
The increase was driven by a better-than-expected growth in Germany and France.
German GDP rose 0.4% from the third quarter when it increased by 0.3%, compared to estimates of 0.3%.
French GDP increased 0.3% after stagnating in the third quarter, exceeding the 0.2% consensus forecast.
"We expect Eurozone GDP to grow by 1.1% in 2014, which would be the best performance since 2011," said Howard Archer, Chief European and UK Economist at IHS Global Insight.
The modest improvement eases pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to introduce further stimulus measures to address falling inflation.
Consumer price inflation fell to 0.7% in January, well below the ECB's 2% target.
Yet the ECB held back on making policy changes at last week's meeting with President Mario Draghi saying the environment remains uncertain so he would wait for economic data in March before assessing his next move.
On another positive note for the Eurozone, exports increased 4% to €148.8bn in December, while imports climbed 1% to €134.9bn.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has handed in his resignation after caving in to calls for new leadership.
President Giorgio Napolitano accepted the tender and will immediately begin formal consultations to form a new government and complete them by Saturday, according to a statement from his office.
Napolitano is expected to ask centre-left Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi to form a government without an election.
US industrial production, consumer confidence
US industrial production declined 0.3% month-on-month in January, according to the latest numbers from the Federal Reserve. Economists had called for an increase of 0.2%, as the ongoing harsh weather continues to dampen incoming economic data.
The University of Michigan's consumer confidence index for February was stable at 81.2, ahead of expectations for a fall to 80.2 and matching the previous month's reading.
In the UK, construction output increased 2% in December in line with estimates, compared to a 4% fall in November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.
Meanwhile, Chinese consumer prices rose by 2.5% year-on-year in January, matching the previous month's growth but exceeding the 2.4% forecast.
Miners edge higher
Fresnillo led a gauge of miners higher as the price of gold and silver increased.
ThyssenKrupp advanced after the German steelmaker posted third quarter profit that exceeded analysts' expectations.
Schindler Holding declined after the maker of elevators said annual profit fell 37% to 463m francs.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals gained after the drugmaker raised its full-year revenue growth forecast.
Investment AB Kinnevik dropped after the Swedish publicly traded investment firm said future dividend growth won't match that of previous years.
The euro rose 0.05% to $1.3688.
Brent crude futures fell $0.185 to $108.320 per barrel, according to the ICE.