LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks were little changed on Friday amid a drop in U.K. consumer confidence and a mixed bag of corporate earnings on the last trading day of July. British broadcaster ITV (ITVPF) rose on a vote of confidence from its largest shareholder.
In London, the FTSE 100 inched up 0.15% to 6,648.81, while in Frankfurt, the DAX added 0.05% to 11,262.45. In Paris, the CAC 40 nudged 0.36% higher to 5,064.34.
In the U.K. at least, the mood was dampened by the dip in the monthly GfK consumer confidence index, down three points to a reading of 4 in July.
"Concerns about the general economic situation in the U.K. for the next 12 months appear to be weighing heavily on consumers' minds," said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK. "However, on a more personal level, consumers remain resolutely upbeat about their own financial situation for the coming 12 months."
Among London gainers, ITV was the morning's brightest star. The stock climbed 1.92% after John Malone's Liberty Global said it had boosted its stake in the broadcaster to 9.9%.
In a statement, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries called the investment an "opportunistic" one in the cable firm's largest market, adding, "ITV is a well-run company with attractive growth potential, and we are pleased to increase our position as their largest shareholder." Liberty Global said it had also entered into a hedging transaction over the shares it acquired and obtained further financing from its hedge counterparty, which it did not name.
But Liberty Global also made it clear that it does not plan to launch a takeover offer for ITV.
In a separate announcement, IAG posted a 40% jump in second-quarter profit that failed to impress investors. Operating profit increased to €530 million from €380 million a year earlier, as revenues rose 11.2% to €5.66 billion ($6.20 billion).
"We said previously that profit improvement would be slower in the second quarter and we are on track to reach our full-year targets," said CEO Willie Wash, adding that the company continues to drive down employee and supplier unit costs.
InterContinental Hotels (IHG) was also down. The stock erased 3.6% after the company denied reports that that it was in merger talks with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT). The announcement followed a Financial Times report that the companies had held early-stage discussions.
"Following recent market speculation, the board of directors of IHG states that it is not in talks with Starwood with a view to a combination of the businesses," IHG said in a statement released after markets closed on Thursday.
Elsewhere in the region, the July earnings blast pulled stocks in both directions.
In Paris, BNP Paribas (BNPQY) added 3% after France's largest lender posted strong second-quarter results. The group generated €2.55 billion in net income, compared to a loss of €4.2 billion in the same period last year.
Carrefour (CRRFY) rose 0.68% after France's largest retailer reported a 1.3% rise in first-half profit.
Airbus (EADSY) was also up on strong first-half results, adding 2.42%.
Asian stocks were mostly higher, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng adding 0.56% to 24,636.28 and the Nikkei moving up 0.36% to 20,585.24 in Tokyo. The exception was China, where the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index retreated 1.13%.