The early economic data released in Europe saw some very disappointing German retail sales, which were quickly overshadowed by the better-than-expected EU unemployment levels. These were expected to increase and set a new all-time record of 12.3%; however they have actually dropped to 12.1% down from 12.2%. This unexpected good news initially gave the markets a boost, but as the morning session has progressed we have seen this optimistic stance eroded.
On the equity front we have seen figures released by French car manufacturer Peugeot, where sales have been down but not as bad as expected.
Centrica, the UK energy supplier, has given plenty of ammunition to those who think they charge too much by showing some great profits, although with the awful weather that the UK has had this year means it is hardly surprising.
Diageo the drinks supplier has highlighted that, with the eurozone still struggling to get out of a recession, those drowning their sorrows need something stronger than beer and the harder spirits that they sell have driven their profits.