Euro zone inflation was stable at the European Central Bank's target for the 12th straight month in August but consumer expectations of inflation jumped and economic sentiment weakened more than expected, data showed.
European stocks managed to close in the green Thursday after oscillating between the joy of some good corporate results on the continent and worries about credit market woes.
The head of French utility Suez on Thursday confirmed a possible sale of its historic water assets had been dragged into talks with the French state and Gaz de France to salvage a merger agreement.
Shares in Natixis jumped Thursday after the French bank said first-half net profit rose 15% that it had reduced its exposure to the U.S. subprime market.
Anglo-French Channel tunnel operator Eurotunnel reported an 8% fall in first-half profit on Thursday, but said car volumes and Eurostar rail traffic had increased.
Credit Agricole, reported a 0.6% rise in second-quarter net profit, which beat an average forecast, and said the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis has had a limited impact on it.
The U.S. Justice Department and other authorities have stepped up investigations into several large European banks for violating sanctions against Iran, Libya, Cuba and Sudan, the Financial Times reported in its online edition.
European stocks closed mainly in positive territory, helped by a morning rally in the U.S.
European stocks closed down on Tuesday, as investors sold shares in banks following more bad news from subprime-affected financials and took their cue later in the afteroon from U.S. markets.
European stocks closed mixed in the afternoon session Monday, after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet kept the options open for euro-zone rate moves ahead of an ECB monetary policy meeting next week.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Monday his remarks on August 2 were made before the current market turbulence, leaving the options open on whether the ECB will raise its key interest rate at a meeting next week.
German state-backed bank Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg agreed on Sunday to buy subprime victim and fellow lender SachsenLB, as pressure mounts for further mergers among German state banks.
European stocks finished the week in the green after stronger-than-expected U.S. durable goods orders and new home sales data on Friday pushed back fears of a spillover of the credit markets crisis to the wider economy.
The European Central Bank is not set on raising rates in September, and its recent reference to its Aug. 2 policy statement was intended to keep options open, national central bank officials have told Reuters.
France on Friday kept up the pressure on the European Central Bank to take account of global financial market turmoil and economic growth when setting interest rates, and said a September rate rise was not a done deal.
Euro zone private sector growth cooled in August as factory order growth hit its weakest since late 2005 and a credit squeeze in financial markets bruised service sector confidence, key data showed on Friday.
BNP Paribas said on Thursday it would reopen next week three investment funds it had frozen this month amid subprime volatility in a step that may help restore investor confidence, which took a hit on their suspension.
BNP Paribas, France's biggest listed bank, said on Thursday it will reopen three funds next week that it had frozen amid subprime volatility in a step that accelerated a slide in financial stocks.
French wine and spirit makers appear to be clawing their way back into the global market after years of watching foreign taste buds respond to innovative New World wines.
French retailer Carrefour said on Tuesday it was withdrawing from the Swiss market with the sale of its 50% stake in Swiss hypermarket operator Distributis.