Europe's woes are far from over
Traders work at their screens in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange.

European markets opened lower after growth data from the top two eurozone economies deflated sentiments in early trade. France entered recession while Germany's growth rate was lower-than- expected.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 lost 0.1% in early deals, while the UK's FTSE 100 remain little changed. France's CAC 40 fell 0.4% and Germany's DAX slid 0.1%.

Spain's IBEX down 0.2%, while Italy's FTSE MIB lost 0.2%.

Germany's economy grew just 0.1% in the first quarter, below the expected 0.3%. France fell into recession after economic activity shrunk 0.2%, a third contraction in the last four quarters.

Other countries reporting monthly or annual GDP data include Italy, Greece, Portugal, the Netherlands, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In the UK, investors will be tracking the Bank of England (BoE) inflation report, to be tabled by Governor Mervyn King, who is to retire in June, after holding the position for 20 years. Investors will also be closely watching the Claimant Count Change that measures unemployment levels for the month of April.

Companies reporting earnings today include the London Stock Exchange, UK-based carrier Easyjet, German financial services major Allianz, the diversified multinational Thyssenkrup, Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena and the Bank of Cyprus.

Europe will be tracking the NY Empire State Manufacturing Index, known to have an impact on the US dollar. Data coming in from the US later in the day includes PPI inflation, capital flows, industrial output and the NAHB housing survey on single family home sales.

Investors will also be following Brazilian sales data and Argentinean CPI.

Elsewhere in Europe, Fitch Ratings raised Greece's credit rating by a rung to 'B-minus' from 'CCC', removing the country from the risk of a default, making it easier for Greece to tap the bond market.

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

Earlier in the day, Asian markets remained mixed on a day when Japanese stocks shot up to a new 5-1/2 year high as exporters' stocks rallied on continued yen weakness.

The US dollar moved past the 102 yen mark, hovering closer to its 52-week high of 102.43 yen. This helped Japanese exporters in the morning trade. The rally helped the Nikkei breach the psychological 15,000 mark, a first in over five years.

In Hong Kong, real estate and financial companies' stocks gained after the US stocks posted record gains overnight. On Wall Street, stocks jumped after investors resorted to hectic buying of large-cap shares, fuelled by expectations that the Federal Reserve's stimulus package will bolster the economy and the markets.