Europe midday: Shares flat as investors fret over inflation
European shares were flat at lunchtime on Thursday as investors remained cautious amid inflationary fears, despite a deluge of corporate news and takeover speculation around UK packaging firm DS Smith.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was flat with mining stocks in demand as Anglo American cashed in on the commodity price boom with better-than-expected annual results.
Investors were also waiting for a revision to US fourth quarter GDP figures, with analysts expecting a slight change to 4% to 4.2% at the annualised rate, and weekly jobless claims with forecasts for a fall to 828,000 from from 861,000.
The eurozone Economic Sentiment Indicator rose from 91.5 to 93.1 in February, also boosting shares, while the employment expectation Index rose from to 90 from 89.1.
In equity news, Standard Chartered shares fell even as the UK lender lost restored its dividend and reaffirmed its long-term profit goals.
Shares in DS Smith were up 9% on reports rival Mondi was considering a bid.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, tumbled 4.4% even as it reported a higher-than-expected core quarterly profit.
Howden Joinery shares fell as the company posted a fall in full-year profit and revenue after the Covid-19 pandemic had a "significant" impact on its business.
Shares in Centrica were lower after the British Gas owner reported a slide in full-year operating profits, also weighed down by Covid-19, as it paused the final dividend.