European Markets
Traders work at their screens in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange

European shares declined across the board in the opening minutes of trade as investors await a string of key regional data that included Bank of England's rate decision and the European Central Bank's evaluation of the financial health of the region.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 lost 0.1% to 1,227.3 in early deals. The UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.1%, while France's CAC 40 shed 0.8% and Germany's DAX declined 0.2%.

Though Spain's IBEX remain little changed, Italy's FTSE MIB fell 0.5%

In the UK, investors will be tracking the BoE's interest rate decision, monthly industrial and manufacturing output data as well as the NIESR GDP estimate apart from companies' quarterly earnings.

The ECB will be releasing its monthly bulletin that include an evaluation of the recent rate cut decision and its report on current and future economic conditions in the region.

Struggling eurozone member Slovenia is expected to present an action plan to the European Commission possibly detailing austerity measures, new taxes and bank recapitalisations.

Companies reporting earnings today include London-headquartered financial services group Old Mutual, residential property developer Barratt Developments, engineering firm IMI, Moscow-headquartered oil firm TNK-BP, Telecom Italai and Italian bank Mediobanca.

Earlier, most Asian markets except Shanghai gained, taking cues from a positive close on Wall Street as well as upbeat regional data. While Korea advanced on a rate cut by the central bank, Japan's Nikkei slid 0.7% at 14,191.5 towards close. In China, stocks were down after data showed that consumer prices were higher-than-expected in April.

Australia's unemployment rate for April declined to 5.5% from 5.6%, fuelling positive sentiments across markets.

In the US, market sentiments were upbeat as a number of S&P 500 companies projected earnings that were ahead of estimates.