Europe close: Stocks finish mixed on back of US data

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LONDON (ShareCast) - FTSE-100: 0.25%
Dax (Xetra: ^GDAXI - news) -30: -0.27%
Cac-40: 0.15%
FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.96%
Ibex 35: -0.54%
Stoxx 600: -0.06%

European equities finished mixed Monday as data revealed a rise in US durable goods orders.

The European Union's largest trading partner saw a 4.6% jump in orders for big-ticket items in December, according to data from the Commerce Department in Washington.

Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . received orders for more than 180 planes while bookings for commercial aircraft leaped by 10.1%.

Overall, orders climbed 4.1% in 2012, according to the report.

In contrast, a separate release from the National Association of Realtors revealed its index of contracts for the purchase of previously owned homes fell 4.3% to 101.7 in December after a revised 1.6% increase in the prior month.

The group said fewer homes in inventory were holding back sales.

The results come after the Commerce Department last week said new home sales, logged when contracts are signed, declined 7.3% in December to a 369,000 annual pace, following a revised 398,000 rate the month earlier.

ESM approves Spanish bank bailout

The Eurozone's rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), approved the second tranche of the Spanish bank bailout on Monday, Spanish TV broadcaster TVE 24 reported.

The tranche is worth €1.865bn and will be used to recapitalise banks that have not been nationalised but need public funds including Banco Mare Nostrum, Banco Ceiss, Liberbank, and Caja3.

The payment will be disbursed on February 6th.

Banks edge higher

International Consolidated Airlines fell 1.48% following reports it planned to replace some European flights by British Airways and Iberia with services operated by Vueling.

Banks including Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) and HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) were pushing the FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) higher, rising 1.95% and 1.31% respectively, after Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) lifted target prices.

TNT Express (Other OTC: TNTEF - news) jumped 3.4% after UBS (Berlin: UBRA.BE - news) upgraded the Dutch delivery company's shares to buy from neutral.

Debenhams (Other OTC: DBHSY - news) , the second-largest UK department-store chain, plunged 2.47% after Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) cut its recommendation on the shares to equal weight from overweight.

Asset classes lower

The euro/dollar slid 0.10% to the 1.3450 dollar mark.

Front month Brent crude futures dropped by 0.177% to the 113.080 dollar mark on the ICE.

RD