European stocks erased most of its early losses made after weak manufacturing data from China and the Fed's decision on Wednesday to cut another $10 billion from its bond-buying program. Gains came after some positive data out of Europe.
The HBSC purchasing managers index for China fell to 49.5, down from a 50.5 reading in December.
Around the region, in seasonally adjusted terms, the number of unemployed in Germany fell 28,000; in December the jobless numbers declined 19,000, revised from an originally reported drop of 15,000. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a drop of 5,000. The adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8%, matching December, which was revised from 6.9%.
In the UK, 71,638 new home loans approved in December, the BOE said, the highest monthly total since January 2008. Overall lending to consumers, net of repayments, rose by 2.3 billion pounds, the biggest monthly increase since July 2008. The economy expanded in 2013 at its fastest pace since 2007, according to official data, and growth is expected to accelerate in 2014.
Spain's Q4 GDP rose 0.3% from Q3, INE said, in its preliminary GDP estimate. This is in line with a previous estimate by the country's central bank, and statements made by Finance Minister Luis de Guindos. GDP contracted 0.1% from a year ago.
The European Commission's Economic Sentiment Indicator rose to 100.9 from 100.4 to reach its highest level since June 2011. It moved further about the 100.00 level that denotes the average going back to 1990.
Meanwhile, US Q4 GDP rose 3.2%.
In ADR news, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) said it would suspend drilling in the U.S. Arctic region. It also said Q4 profit dropped 71%. Profit, less items plunged 48% from a year earlier to $2.9 billion.
Ericsson's ( ERIC ) Q4 net profit was 6.41 billion Swedish kronor ($990 million) compared with a year-earlier's loss of 6.46 billion kronor, when earnings were hit by a charge related to unwinding the former ST-Ericsson joint venture. The figure was well below analyst forecasts of 7.22 billion kronor. However, sales rose 37.1% from 31.1% from a year earlier, beating analysts' estimates.
Novo Nordisk A/S ( NVO ) said it now expects 2014 sales, measured in local currencies, to grow between 8% and 11% this year, while operating profit is expected to increase 10%. Measured in Danish Kroner, sales growth is expected to be around 4.5% to 7.5% and operating profit growth around 4.5%. It also is proposing a 25% increase in its dividend to shareholders to 4.50 kroner ($0.82) per share and said it could also buy back as many as DKK15 billion worth of shares within the next 12 months. Q4 sales increased 3.5% in DKK21.70 billion Danish kroner, and net profit rose 5.0% to DKK6.05 billion from DKK5.76 billion in the same period in 2013. Analysts had expected net profit of DKK6.27 billion during the period, according to a poll by Dow Jones Newswires and Factset.
Diageo ( DEO ) said demand had been volatile in emerging markets in the first half of the year, with sales in the Asia-Pacific region dropping 10%. Organic sales rose 1.8% in the six months through December, missing the median analyst estimate of 3.5%. Operating profit excluding items was 2.06 billion pounds ($3.4 billion).
The FTSE-100 was last down 0.09% at 6,538.45, the DAX up 0.39% at 9,373.48 and the CAC-40 up 0.55% at 4,180.02.
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