European stocks declined over the course of the day after a positive start. The FTSE and the DAX further retreated from all-time highs set yesterday. Investors now focus on the upcoming ECB meeting on Thursday.
Retail Sales in Europe's largest economy expanded in January far more than analysts had expected and fuelled bullish sentiment. The Federal statistics office Destatis stated the boost in sales comes amid lower consumer prices and strong consumption. Retailers profited from the high employment rate, the highest in Europe. Falling energy prices left consumers with more money to spend. Seasonally adjusted sales rose 2.9%, compared to revised 0.6% (previous 0.2%) in December. Analysts expected an increase of 0.6%.
On an annual basis Retail Sales rose 5.3%, the most since 2010. The previous reading was revised up from 4.0% to 4.8%.
The U.K. Construction sector expanded at a faster pace than expected. The Construction PMI rose from 59.1 points in January to 60.1 points in February, beating expectations of a decrease to 59.0. The increase was driven by a sharp rise in business volumes and an improving economy.
Eurozone's Producer Price Index fell more than expected in January with a reading of -0.9% compared to forecasts of -0.6%.
The FTSE 100 index is currently trading -0.11% quoted at 6,932.67. Germany's DAX 30 lost -0.06% trading at 11,403.42. France's CAC 40 is currently trading at 4,914.87 points, -0.05%.