Europe shares close mixed despite US GDP boost
European shares closed mixed on Wednesday despite investor sentiment being boosted by better-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth from the U.S.
The FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed flat at 1,205.72 points after a raft of economic data from the euro zone. Inflation data was in line with estimates at 1.6 percent (year-on-year). The unemployment rate came in at 12.1 percent, slightly better than expectations of 12.2 percent.
However, retail sales data for Germany dented investor sentiment after it showed a fall of 1.5 percent in June, the biggest drop for a year. The German DAX provisionally closed down 0.3 percent.
European stocks were buoyed by U.S. economic growth data, with gross domestic product (GDP) growing at a 1.7 percent annual rate. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the economy growing at a 1.0 percent pace. The FTSE 100 in particular was boosted by the U.S. news, with the index closing roughly 0.5 percent up.
But investors' focus remained firmly on the U.S. central bank, which could indicate when its asset purchase program will be tailed back at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Wednesday.
In stocks news, shares of spirit maker Diageo closed up roughly 3.24 percent after reporting a tough trading environment in China, but a profits rise in the U.S.
(Read More: Diageo profit up after 'rocky' emerging market ride)
Shares of French bank BNP Paribas closed higher by 1.64 percent as the group posted a second quarter net profit of 1.76 billion euros ($2.33 billion), above analysts' expectations of 1.6 billion euros forecast.
(Read More: BNP Paribas profit falls, expands in Germany)
Shares of AB InBev also closed higher by roughly 6.91 percent, after the firm beat earnings expectations.
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