LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks were mixed before eurozone finance ministers gather in Brussels for crunch talks over Greece's financial lifeline.

The meeting is due to start at 3 p.m. local time and if the standoff is not resolved, it could mean imminent insolvency for Greece and even ejection from the common currency. Hopes for a deal faded after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble rejected the latest compromise from Athens, whose current program is due to expire at the end of February.

But "Grexit" fears were tempered by positive news on eurozone manufacturing and services, with the composite Markit Purchasing Managers Index advancing to a seven-month high in January. Germany saw growth accelerate for the third straight month, while France had its first upturn in business activity since April 2014.

The FTSE 100, back and forth all morning, was recently up 0.21% at 16,903.34, while in Frankfurt the DAX shed 0.41% to 10.957.29, and in Paris the CAC 40 was 0.46% lower at 4,810.92.

In London, Standard Life (SLFPF) led gainers. It added more than 3.5% after posting a greater-than-expected 2014 operating profit, with CEO David Nish saying the company is "very well placed for the future" despite unsettled investment markets.

Energy stocks also fared well as oil registered its first weekly decline in a month, with Tullow Oil (TUWLF) and Premier Oil (PMOIY) both jumping nearly 4% and BG rising 1.85% in London.

In Paris, Danone (DANOY) fell 1.5% as the French dairy maker gave a lower forecast for 2015 than last year's goal, citing difficult economic conditions and fragile or even deflationary consumer trends in Europe.

And in Milan, Telecom Italia (TI) was down 0.98%, reversing earlier gains. Revenues dropped 5.4% in 2014 as EBITDA was 6.8% lower than last year, according to preliminary results released Friday. On Thursday, Italy's largest phone company company got the green light for a buyout of its media business, Telecom Italia Media (TIAMY), which is to be merged into the parent company.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei increased 0.37% to 18,332.30, as most other Asian markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year celebrations.