European equity markets continued to extend gains in afternoon trading Feb. 16 following a muted trading session in Asia as the China and Hong Kong markets were closed for Lunar New Year holidays.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.62% by 1:43 p.m. in London, while Germany's DAX was up 0.53%. Europe's Stoxx 600 climbed 0.80% while France's CAC 40 rose 0.92%.
U.K. retail sales grew more slowly than expected in January after a decline in December 2017, the Office for National Statistics said. Sales volume edged up 0.1% in January from the month before, with declines across all main sectors except non-food stores.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose for the second day in a row, closing 1.19% higher at 21,720.25. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated Haruhiko Kuroda as head of the Bank of Japan for another five years.
The U.S dollar reversed losses registered earlier in the day to be up 0.07% against the yen, 0.53% against the euro, and 0.56% against sterling.
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said Feb. 15 that the exchange rate fluctuations were not enough to necessitate intervention.
Markets are also anticipating Brexit news on the U.K.'s position on financial services Feb. 16.
U.S. equities closed higher Feb. 15 as investors went back into stock markets despite consumer price data on Feb. 14 that fanned inflation fears.