Investing.com

Investing.com - European stocks were higher on Friday, as comments by European Central Bank governing council member Jens Weidmann continued to support, as well as remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.



During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 edged up 0.14%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.20%, while Germany’s DAX 30 rose 0.28%.



On Thursday, ECB governing council member Weidmann played down fears over the threat of deflation in the currency bloc, saying the risk of broad deflation was limited.



The comments came as data confirmed the annual rate of consumer inflation remained well below the ECB’s 2% target in December.



Eurostat said consumer price inflation rose 0.8% on a year-over-year basis in December, in line with expectations and unchanged from a preliminary estimate.



Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank should be giving the economy the stimulus it needs despite worries that quantitative easing may destabilize the financial system.



Financial stocks were mixed, as BNP Paribas slid 0.39% and Societe Generale edged up 0.11% in France, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank fell 0.15%.



Among peripheral lenders, Spanish banks BBVA and Banco Santander added 0.13% and 0.26% respectively, while Italy''s Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit gained 0.31% and 0.58%.



Elsewhere, Accor rallied 1.51% after the hotel operator said that profit probably reached the upper end of its forecast in 2013.



On the downside, Essilor International plummeted 2.20% after lowering its forecast sales growth for 2013.



In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 eased up 0.07%, supported by gains in the mining sector.



Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto jumped 1.24% and 1.82% respectively, while Glencore Xstrata led gains on the index with shares surging 2.38%.



Meanwhile, financial stocks were broadly lower as Barclays shed 0.37% and Lloyds Banking dropped 0.54%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland tumbled 1.32%. HSBC Holdings overperformed however, climbing 0.56%.



Adding to losses, Royal Dutch Shell dove 3.28% after saying that higher exploration costs and lower volumes will hurt fourth-quarter earnings.



In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.09% rise, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.07% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.06% uptick.



Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, as well as data on building permits, housing starts and industrial production.





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