Europe close: German confidence reaches new high

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - German confidence hits high note
- Spain's public deficit targets veer off target
- Greece narrows budget deficit

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European equities finished lower Tuesday despite news that German investor confidence reached a two-year high.

Europe's biggest lender showed signs its economy may gather momentum, according to new data from the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim.

The group said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aim to predict economic developments six months in advance, for the country jumped to 31.5 this month from 6.9 in December.

Elsewhere in Europe, a fresh warning on Spain's economy came as EU finance minister leaders met in Brussels. The European Commission warned Spain's 2012 and 2013 public deficit targets were again veering off target.

On the bright side, Greece narrowed its budget deficit to 8.1% in 2012, closing at €15.7bn compared to €22.8bn or 10.9% out output in 2011, according to reports.

EU employment rate unchanged

Europe's employment rate stood at 63.8%, unchanged from the previous quarter and 0.4% lower than one year ago, new jobs data revealed.

The Eurozone showed no signs of breaking away from its economic troubles following the results from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD) which unveiled the latest jobs statistics of the 34 countries under the body for the third quarter of 2012.

In total the employment rate was 65% for the third quarter of 2012, unchanged from the previous quarter, but up 0.2pp than a year ago and 1.5pp below pre-crisis level.

Deutsche Bank (Xetra: 514000 - news) falls on Bafin split speculation

Deutsche Bank fell 1.67% following reports it was asked by the regulator, Bafin, to simulate a split of its consumer banking and trading businesses.

BSkyB (LSE: BSY.L - news) rose 0.76% after news Manchester United (NYSE: MANU - news) purchased a one-third minority stake in Manchester United Television from the broadcaster.

Siemens (NYSE: SI - news) advanced 0.32% after its fiscal first quarter results were leaked to the press showing the firm obtained profits to the tune of €1.3bn ($1.7bn), which was better than expected.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo (Other OTC: FNLPF - news) dropped 2.82% after fourth quarter gold production came in 20.6 per cent lower than 2011.

Vivendi (Milan: VIV.MI - news) fell 2.37% as the French phone unit of Europe's biggest media and telecommunications company said it expects a tough market over the next 18 months.

Single currency flat

The euro/dollar was trading 0.10% lower at 1.3300.

Front month Brent crude futures climbed 0.152 dollars, to the 111.880 dollar per barrel mark on the NYMEX.

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