European markets were up in afternoon trading as investors await the outcome of tomorrow's European Central Bank policy meeting.

U.S. futures also point to a muted opening, with Dow Jones Industrial Average mini futures down 0.04% and S&P 500 down 0.09%.

Industrial production dropped in Germany in July, economists had forecast growth for the month. The unexpected drop comes after a raft of lackluster European economic data in the eurozone and surprisingly healthy data out of the U.K. following the Brexit vote in June.

Production fell 1.5% on a monthly basis in June, compared with growth of 1.1% in June. This is the lowest reading since August 2014. Figures from Germany's statistics office Destatis show that year -on-year figure was down 1.2% in July, compared with growth of 0.9% in June.

The statistics agency said that if construction and energy were taken out of the headline number the drop would be have been 2.3%.

In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.08% 6,831.21.

House fell in the U.K. last month, according to Halifax. The mortgage lender's survey found a 0.1% fall in August, which was up from a 1.1% fall reported in July. Year-on-year figures showed prices were 6.9% higher in August, down from 8.4% in July.

This sent house builders down in London. Berkeley Group  (BKGFY) was recently down 3.16%, Persimmon  (PSMMY) lost 2.83%and Taylor Wimpey  (TWODY) was down 2.2%. 

Barratt Developments (BTDPY)   lost 2.50% in afternoon trading even though it announced a 21% increase in pre-tax profit for the year ended in June. The U.K.'s largest housebuilder made £682 million in net profit and completed 17,300 homes.

Beleaguered Sports Direct dropped more than 9% in afternoon trading after it warned that operating profit is likely to fall. The company today also announced it had refused a resignation offer from its chairman Keith Hellawell. CEO Mike Ashley said that he has no intentions of taking the company private even after shareholder pressure on its employment and governance practices.

HSBC (HSBC)  was recently down 0.17% after reports surfaced that U.S. prosecutors were considering a criminal charge against the bank related to its foreign-exchange desk.

In Frankfurt, the Dax was up 0.27% at 10,716.34 and the Cac 40 was up 0.18% at 4,537.92 in Paris.

Bayer (BAYRY) share price was on the rise after reports said the company might raise its bid price again for agricultural seed producer Monsanto (MON) . A $130-a-share figure has is being bandied around, this is an increase from yesterday's $127.50 a share.

Shares were recently up 0.38%.

Volkswagen (VLKAY) shares were up 1.20%. The company announced today it had signed an agreement with China's Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group to explore the production of electric cars in the company.