European Stocks Lackluster As US GDP Disappoints


(RTTNews.com) - European stocks were mixed Wednesday amid expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back its asset-buying plan later today.

A weak U.S. GDP report prevented any afternoon rally across the European markets.

The U.S. Commerce Department's report showed gross domestic product inched up by just 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the 2.6 percent increase in GDP in the fourth quarter of 2013.

While economists had anticipated a notable slowdown in the pace of GDP growth, they still expected an increase of about 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Eurozone inflation accelerated less-than-expected in April, flash estimates from Eurostat showed, increasing pressure on the European Central Bank to act at next week's policy meeting.

Inflation rose to 0.7 percent from a 52-month low of 0.5 percent in March.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks declined 0.37 percent.

Around Europe, German stocks were up 0.20 percent and France's CAC 40 was down 0.23 percent, but the U.K.'s FTSE 100 inched up 0.15 percent.

Daimler AG shares were down 1.7 percent in Frankfurt after recent sharp gains. The company reported a surge in its first-quarter net profit to 1.027 billion euros from 536 million euros last year.

Deutsche Bank fell 1.1 percent after ratings agency Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for the bank to negative.

British lender Barclays Plc rose 1 percent in London on a report the British lender will next week announce the creation of a "bad bank" to house unwanted assets as it seeks to trim down its business.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc shares jumped 3.7 percent as the European oil giant reported a smaller-than-expected 45 percent fall in net profit for the first quarter.

BNP Paribas SA lost 3.6 percent in Paris. The French lender reported a decline in first-quarter pre-tax income and warned it might be hit with a fine of more than the $1.1 billion it set aside for alleged U.S. sanctions breaches.

Novartis AG said the US Food and Drug Administration has approved Zykadia for the treatment of patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

The company also said its once-daily Ultibro Breezhaler asthsma treatment showed superior efficacy versus rival Seretide.

Novartis shares rose 0.4 percent, while Roche added 1 percent.

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