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Dec 13, 2018

European Markets at Close Report: European markets close lower after ECB ends QE purchases

David Reid,Sam Meredith

European stocks were slightly lower on average Thursday as the European Central Bank formally brought its 2.6 trillion euro ($3 tn) QE program to a close.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was little changed from the previous session with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

FTSEFTSE 100FTSE6877.01-3.18-0.05492447205
The ECB is poised to bring an end to its crisis-era bond-buying program after nearly four years. European lenders have generally been critical of the central bank’s QE program, arguing it has a negative impact on their net interest income. Unicredit has led the gains, up almost 2 percent on the prospect of the ECB ending its contentious stimulus program.
Attention will now turn to Mario Draghi’s statement, with particular focus on inflation and growth projections.
Looking at other stocks on the move, Britain’s Antofagasta surged toward the top of the European benchmark during mid-morning deals. It comes after Exane BNP Paribas raised its stock recommendation to “outperform” Thursday morning, prompting shares of the London-listed stock to rise 4 percent.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Metro slumped to the bottom of the index after the company reported persistently challenging business conditions in Russia. Shares of the wholesale tumbled more than 7 percent on the news.
President Donald Trump (L) shakes hand with China’s President Xi Jinping at the end of a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017.
Fred Dufour | AFP | Getty Images
Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, after a flurry of upbeat comments from Washington and Beijing heightened expectations of a comprehensive trade deal.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported Chinese state-owned companies had bought more than 1.5 million tons of U.S. soybeans. It was the first major U.S. soybean purchases in more than six months, and the most clear sign to date that China is making good progress on pledges at the start of the month.
In Asia, MSCI-s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, rose more than 1 percent on Thursday.
Back in Europe, sterling pared some its gains after rallying up from 20-month lows in the previous session. It comes after British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a party no-confidence vote.
The U.K. currency was up around 0.20 percent to trade at $1.2655 against the U.S. dollar at around 1:00 p.m. London time.
Meanwhile, investors are likely to closely monitor a series of interest rate announcements on Thursday. Norway’s central bank left its main interest rate unchanged, as expected, while the Swiss National Bank said there was no reason at all to change their expansive monetary policy.
The European Central Bank (ECB) gives its latest update on euro area monetary policy later in the session.

Source: CNBC

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