Stock indices closed lower as oil prices continued to decline. Oil prices fell on the U.S. crude oil inventories data and on comments by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi. He said that there will be no cut in oil output.
European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member and Deutsche Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said Wednesday that the economic recovery would continue this year. He noted that the German economy was in good shape. Weidmann warned that further stimulus measures could entail longer-term risks and side-effects "that it would be dangerous to simply ignore".
Meanwhile, market participants eyed the economic data from France. French statistical office INSEE released its consumer confidence index for France on Wednesday. French consumer confidence index fell to 95 in February from 97 in January. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged at 97.
The British Bankers' Association (BBA) released the number of mortgage approvals in the U.K. on Wednesday. The number of mortgage approvals rose to 47,509 in January from 43,660 in December, exceeding expectations for a rise to 45,200. It was the highest level since February 2014.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) released its retail sales balance data on Wednesday. The CBI retail sales balance plunged to 10% in February from 16% in January. It was the lowest level since May 2013. Sales growth is expected to slow next month, while orders are expected to decline.
Indexes on the close:
Name Price Change Change %
FTSE 100 5,867.18 -95.13 -1.60 %
DAX 9,167.8 -248.97 -2.64 %
CAC 40 4,155.34 -83.08 -1.96 %