European stocks fluctuated between small gains and losses with investors keeping a close eye on an EU summit on relations with ex soviet states, negotiations between Greece and its lenders and US inflation data.
The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 slipped by less than a point or 0.03% to end at 407.74 points to break its four day winning streak.
The European benchmark however still recorded a 2.7% weekly advance- the highest weekly gain since April 10- on comments by ECB board member Benoiit Coure that the European Central Bank would step up its bond purchase program.
“It remains constructive, but we haven’t seen triggers that would take the market higher,” said Otto Waser, chief investment officer at R&A Research & Asset Management AG in Zurich.
“The market took positive the ECB frontloading of its bond purchases. The fact that they announced the frontloading was interpreted as a reminder that QE is safe and well.”
Volume on the Stoxx 600 was generally low- 28% lower than the 30 day average.
In London, the FTSE100 advanced 0.3% at 703172 points led by shares in the mining heavyweights which rallied on China stimulus hopes.
Also aiding the UK benchmark was a rally by telecommunications giant Vodafone plc which grew 4.6% on takeover speculation
Germany’s DAX 30 slipped 0.4% to 1115.01 points weighed down by fresh consumer confidence data in the country.
“Eurozone indices have struggled… weighed down by Greek debt concerns,” Kash Kamal, research analyst at Sucden Financial, told the Australian.
“The prospect of a potential conclusion (to debt talks) towards the end of May or early June, after what has been a drawn out and difficult period of negotiations saw the euro rally towards $US1.1208 earlier today, however, with no concrete details regarding the revised terms of any deal these early gains were swiftly given back.”
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