- US retail sales and jobs numbers out later
- Yellen testimony postponed due to weather
- German inflation rises in line
- ECB releases Monthly Bulletin
FTSE 100: -0.77%
CAC 40: -0.54%
FTSE MIB: -1.21%
IBEX 35: -1.12%
Stoxx 600: -0.73%
European stocks fell ahead of US reports on retail sales and initial jobless claims.
A report from the Commerce Department is expected to show US retail sales were unchanged in January, after rising 0.2% the previous month, according to economists.
Separate data is tipped to reveal that US initial jobless claims slipped to 330,000 in the week ended February 8th from 331,000 the prior week.
Elsewhere in the US, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was forced to postpone her testimony before the Senate Banking Committee today as another batch of powerful winter weather hit the US east coast.
Yellen on Tuesday presented her first testimony before the House, indicating that the Fed was likely to continue to scale back monetary stimulus after every policy meeting until ending it all together later this year.
ECB Monthly Bulletin, German inflation
The European Central Bank (ECB) released its Monthly Bulletin this morning which reiterated the statements released last week at the policy meeting.
On that occasion the ECB decided to keep its interest rates unchanged and policy on hold despite mounting pressure to take greater measures to tackle inflation.
The monthly report confirmed the ECB's expectation of a prolonged period of low inflation, to be followed by a gradual upward movement towards inflation rates below, but close to, 2% later on.
In Germany, consumer prices, calculated using a harmonised European Union method, rose 1.2% in January, matching the previous month's increase and the consensus forecast.
Nestle tumbled after reporting saying it expects another challenging year as food companies face slowing demand in emerging markets and in Europe.
Rolls-Royce edged lower after estimating 2014 revenue and profit would remain flat, reverting an earlier profit for a rise.
Lloyds Banking Group dropped as the lender reported its fourth consecutive annual loss.
BNP Paribas declined after France's largest bank unexpectedly reported a drop in fourth-quarter profit.
Pernod Ricard was down after the French spirits group cut its annual profit growth goal, due to weak demand in China.
Commerzbank advanced as Germany's second-largest bank posted net income that exceeded analysts' projection.
Rio Tinto gained after reporting a rise in annual underlying profit that exceeded market forecasts.
The euro rose 0.55% to $1.3668.
Brent crude futures fell $0.545 to $108.200 per barrel, according to the ICE.