European shares edge lower after mixed GDP data

LONDON Thu May 15, 2014 3:16am EDT

LONDON May 15 (Reuters) - European stocks treaded water on Thursday as mixed national GDP data from France and Germany contrasted with some upbeat corporate earnings, keeping key indexes within striking distance of multi-year highs.

Traders were set to scrutinise pan-euro-zone GDP and inflation figures, both due at 0900 GMT, to gauge the odds of more monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank, the prospect of which has lifted stocks in the past week.

France's own GDP reading missed expectations as it showed the euro zone's second largest economy was flat in the first quarter of 2014. German economic growth, however, doubled to 0.8 percent quarter on quarter, beating consensus estimates.

Insurers Aegon, media company Vivendi, clothing retailer H&M and jeweller Richemont traded between 0.8 percent and 3.4 percent higher after their results releases.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, however, was down 0.1 percent lower at 1,366.94 points 0704 GMT. It tracked a selloff on Wall Street, which was led by cyclical stocks and small cap stocks.

"Results will provide support but the focus today is on the economic data," Mike Reuter, a broker at Tradition said.

"If readings later this morning from the likes of Italy come in lower than expected, we could really see a change in direction (higher)." (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Lionel Laurent)

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