LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks were little changed on Wednesday as investors digested new data on eurozone economic growth and retail sales ahead of Thursday's European Central Bank monetary policy meeting in Cyprus.
In London, the FTSE 100 was 0.27% lower at 6,870.19, while in Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.23% at 11,254.28. In Paris, the CAC 40 inched up 0.21% to 4,879.29.
There was little momentum in either direction a day before the ECB is due to share details of the bond purchasing program announced in January. Investors paid little attention to Wednesday's positive news on two fronts about the eurozone recovery gathering pace.
In January, retail sales in the single-currency area rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in January, compared with December 2014, the E.U.'s Eurostat statistics agency said.
And in February, the growth of eurozone economic output accelerated for the third straight month. Markit Economics' final February composite Purchasing Managers Index came in at 53.3, its highest since July last year, although slightly below the earlier flash estimate of 53.5. Ireland and Spain led the advance, followed by Germany and France.
A separate report from Markit showed that services growth in the U.K. unexpectedly slowed last month while remaining "comfortably above" the survey average going back nearly a decade.
Corporate earnings tugged stocks in both directions.
In London, precious metals miner Fresnillo (FNLPF) tumbled 4.86% after posting a 40% slump in full-year pretax profit amid lower silver and gold prices. But CEO Octavio Alvídrez said a strong balance sheet will support 2015 growth plans.
Among London's biggest risers, ITV (ITVPF) gained 5.5% after the commercial television network behind "Downtown Abbey" posted a 39% jump in full-year pretax profit.
The broadcaster, best known in the U.K. for the long-running "Coronation Street" soap opera, said it will propose raising the annual dividend by 34% to 4.7 pence a share, along with a special dividend of 6.25 pence a share. It's bullish on 2015, amid expectations of continued revenue growth across all business segments and a positive outlook for television advertising.
Standard Chartered (SCBFF) rallied 5% after the London-based banking group said it would leave its 2014 dividend unchanged despite a 30% drop in full-year profit. It also announced plans to save $400 million in costs this year, with 2,000 additional job cuts expected on top of the 2,000 announced or completed in the last three months of 2014.
Over the next three years, Standard Chartered is targeting $1.8 billion in cost costs, which breaks down into annual savings of $400 million to $500 million plus the impact of divestments. It also plans to cut a further $25 billion to $30 billion of risk-weighted assets over the next two years from low-returning client relationships and underperforming businesses.
In Frankfurt, Henkel (HENOY) fell 4.47% after the maker of Persil laundry detergent and Dial soap posted a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit of €602 million, 3.1% above last year.
Henkel expects organic sales to grow by 3% to 5% this year, and EBIT to rise by 16%.
In Asia, the Nikkei lost 0.59% to 18,703.60 in Tokyo, while the Hang Seng erased 0.96% to 24,465.38 in Hong Kong.