Europe open: Stocks rise on German consumer confidence data

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - German consumer confidence at seven-year high
- US durable goods orders data out later
- Draghi reiterates ECB policy stance

FTSE 100: 0.21%
DAX: 0.73%
CAC 40: 0.47%
FTSE MIB: 0.51%
IBEX 35: 0.51%
Stoxx 600: 0.35%

European stocks gained as a report showed German consumer confidence remained at a seven-year high.

GfK (Frankfurt: GFK.F - news) 's forward-looking consumer sentiment indicator was 8.5 points in April, in line with March, when it reached its highest point since January 2007.

The results matched forecasts and followed data from the Ifo Institute yesterday which showed German business confidence slumped for the first time in five months in March, due to worries over the turmoil in Crimea.

"It remains to be seen just how the current events in Crimea will affect the mood amongst consumers," GfK said in its monthly survey of roughly 2,000 German consumers, acknowledging that the survey was conducted before the crisis escalated.

"It cannot be ruled out that this event will unsettle consumers in the coming weeks," the research institute added.

The Moscow-led referendum and subsequent annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine have raised concerns that it could hurt German businesses which have exposure to Russia.

In the US later on, attention will turn to the release of a report on US durable good orders which is expected to show a 0.8% rise in February, compared to a 1% fall a month earlier.

ECB stands ready to act, Draghi says

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi yesterday reiterated in a speech in Paris that the monetary authority stands ready to act if necessary to boost the region's economy.

He said the central bank's accommodative monetary policy should be increasingly felt throughout the euro-area as the economy recovers.

However, he warned that risks including subdued prices and a strengthening euro remain.

"If any downside risks to this scenario appear, we stand ready to take additional monetary policy measures that ensure our mandate is fulfilled," Draghi said. "In other words, we will do what is needed to maintain price stability," he said, adding that "right now, we think that the risks of having deflation are limited."

Airbus, Lloyds

Airbus Group (Berlin: AIR.BE - news) gained after Les Echos reported it is extending its partnership with Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

Lloyds Banking Group declined after the UK government sold a stake in the lender.

Mediaset SpA (Other OTC: MDIUY - news) advanced after the broadcaster, controlled by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, posted a return to profit for 2013.

The euro dropped 0.07% to $1.3816.

Brent crude futures rose $0.187 to $107.190 per barrel, according to the ICE.

RD