European shares were little changed in opening deals on Friday as gains among miners following strong economic data from top metals consumer China were offset by a pullback in crude prices.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark was up 0.1 per cent by 0820 GMT but on track to end the week near a 2 1/2 year peak as confidence over economic and earnings growth helped consolidate a strong start of the year.

The basic resources index, where big mining stocks are listed, rose 0.4 per cent, leading sectoral gainers in Europe, as metals prices were buoyed by the first acceleration in China's GDP growth in seven years.

Among outstanding movers were shares in textile-and-surfacing solutions conglomerate OC Oerlikon , up 4.2 per cent, after the Swiss-listed company forecast rising textile margins following two big Chinese orders. Energy stocks were the biggest fallers, down 0.6 per cent, tracking a fall of more than 1 per cent in crude prices.

Air France, down 3.6 percent, led losers on the STOXX after a downgrade from Morgan Stanley. Among UK mid-caps, a profit warning sent crematorium operator Dignity down 53 per cent. Britain's biggest floor coverings retailer Carpetright also warned on profits, sending its shares plummeting 44 percent.

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