European Markets
European Markets

European markets gained in the opening minutes of trade as investors await the euro area industrial production figures, one of the key indicators of growth momentum in the region as well as a report on German investor confidence.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 remain little changed in early deals, while the UK's FTSE 100 added 0.2%. France's CAC 40 gained 0.2% and Germany's DAX rose 0.3%.

Spain's IBEX gained 0.3 %, while Italy's FTSE MIB added 0.6%.

In Europe, investors will be tracking the ZEW Economic Sentiment Index, which rates the relative six-month economic outlook for Germany and the eurozone at large. Other data due for release during the day include German, Hungarian and Swedish CPI data.

Companies reporting earnings in the day include French media firms Lagardere and Vivendi, aerospace and defence major EADS, Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, media firm Mediaset, German sports goods maker Puma, the UK-based infrastructure group Balfour Beatty, realty firm British Land Company and engineering group Babcock International.

A meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels could not come to a consensus on the legal framework for a European banking union, with Germany insisting that such a move could take time as it required EU treaty changes.

Another meeting of the finance ministers is scheduled for the later part of the day in Brussels to discuss how member nations could tackle tax evasion. The meeting could delve on a plausible referendum in the UK, on European Union membership. As of now, the UK is divided over its EU membership.

Elsewhere in Europe, Greece's prime minister said his country plans to return to the bond market in the first half of 2014. Greece has been barred from the international capital markets for four years.

Earlier in the day, most Asian markets outside China rose on the back of an unexpected rise in US retail sales, while a stronger yen prevented another rally in Japan.

A stronger yen helped South Korea's exporters when the Kospi opened the strongest in the region. Better-than expected retail data from the US supported the S&P 500, which set a new closing record in the previous trading session.