Data published from across the EU have offered mixed sentiment as to the current state of play for the European economy. The business confidence, consumer confidence, industrial sentiment and economic sentiment surveys are forecasted to either drop or remain around current levels. Certainly there doesn’t appear to be any news of a sudden upswing on the horizon. However, results in the larger economies have provided an indication that the situation is stable at present.
In Spain, the final figures for GDP in 2014 have shown growth for the final quarter of 2%. The economy grew by 0.7% in Q4, aided in no small part by the decline in oil prices and a return of confidence in consumer spending. Business confidence in the country continues to remain in negative territory at -4.8, albeit with sentiment gradually improving from month to month.
Data released in Germany showed consumer confidence has a reached record high of 9.7, exceeding predictions of 9.4, buoyed by improved wage conditions in the economy and a modest degree of employment creation. Harmonised German unemployment figures offered an insight into the relative health of that country´s employment situation compared with other EU partners, with the final figure for January coming in at 4.7%.
On the Ibex 35, investors will be watching to see how the share price of telecoms giant Telefonica performs. Yesterday’s negative results saw the shares lose value, only to recover later in the day to close up 1.81% after the group’s President, Cesar Alierta, announced that the company would continue its policy of high dividend payments to shareholders.