Euro­pean equities lit­tle changed

Malta Independent - - FINANCIAL -

Euro­pean equities were lit­tle changed on Thurs­day, be­fore the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank gives its pol­icy up­date. That’s some­thing that traders have got­ten used to.

Overnight im­plied volatil­ity on the euro against the dol­lar jumped to a three-month high be­fore the ECB’s pol­icy de­ci­sion and Pres­i­dent Mario Draghi’s ex­plana­tory brief­ing. The dol­lar rose after Fed­eral Re­serve Bank of New York Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Dud­ley re­it­er­ated he sees an in­ter­est-rate hike this year. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1% amid mixed earn­ings. Oil slid back to $51 a bar­rel.

The ECB will an­nounce its pol­icy de­ci­sion at 1.45pm Frank­furt time, and Draghi will speak to re­porters 45 min­utes later. The cen­tral bank is seen leav­ing pol­icy un­changed, but in­vestors will be look­ing for any hints of changes to its €1.7 tril­lion bond­buy­ing pro­gramme, par­tic­u­larly the rules gov­ern­ing what debt can be bought. While the stim­u­lus is sched­uled to end in March, econ­o­mists fore­cast it will be ex­tended in De­cem­ber amid weak growth and an in­fla­tion level still closer to zero than the ECB’s goal.

The Stoxx 600 slipped less than 0.1% after ris­ing for two straight days, as in­vestors awaited the ECB and weighed mixed earn­ings re­ports.

The MSCI Asia Pa­cific Index gained 0.3%, with a gauge of en­ergy shares surg­ing 0.9%. Ja­pan’s Topix index rose 1% to record its best close since May.

Oil fell after clos­ing at the high­est level in 15 months on govern­ment data that showed US crude stock­piles un­ex­pect­edly de­clined last week, trim­ming an over­hang of in­ven­to­ries. West Texas In­ter­me­di­ate dropped 1% to $51.09 a bar­rel and Brent lost 0.9% to $52.21. Gold was lit­tle changed at $1,269.59, hold­ing near the high­est level in two weeks. In­dus­trial met­als fell, led by a 0.6% de­cline in nickel.

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