LONDON Jan 16 European stocks consolidated near
a 5-1/2 year high on Thursday as indications that the U.S.
economy is strengthening and a bullish production update from
Rio Tinto offset some weak trading in the consumer
Basic resources shares rose 1 percent as Rio Tinto,
the world's no. 2 iron ore miner, recorded big increases in
production, betting China's economic growth will provide a ready
market for decades to come.
Also supporting sentiment, the Federal Reserve said in its
Beige Book published late on Wednesday the U.S. economy
continued to grow at a moderate pace from late November through
the end of 2013, with some regions of the country expecting a
pick-up in growth.
Corporate figures in the European consumer sector, however,
were less upbeat after both Dutch grocer Ahold and
luxury group Richemont reported lower than expected
quarterly sales, sending the shares down 2.6 percent and 3.4
The broader FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European
shares was flat 1,339.84 at 0808 GMT, after hitting a 5-1/2 year
high in the previous session.
Mike Reuter, global equity broker at Tradition, expected the
market to tick higher as the day progressed, provided euro zone
inflation data due at 1000 GMT did not disappoint.