Europe marks time awaiting ECB

GMT 18:47 2015 Wednesday ,21 October

Arab Today, arab today Europe marks time awaiting ECB

Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.89 percent
London - AFP

European stock markets made marginal gains Wednesday, as traders awaited Thursday's key policy meeting of the European Central Bank.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.05 percent to close at 6,348.42 points.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.89 percent to 10,238.10 points and the Paris CAC 40 stood 0.46 percent ahead at 4,695.10 compared with Tuesday's close.

Europe's main indices had dropped slightly on Tuesday as investors fretted over the broader global impact of China's economic slowdown.

In foreign exchange Wednesday, the euro rose to $1.1344 from $1.1322 Tuesday in New York.

"The risk is for euro gains if the ECB fails to point to further stimulus in the coming months," said Phil McHugh, trading floor manager at Currencies Direct.

"However, (ECB chief) Mario Draghi will also be eager for the euro not to strengthen too much beyond current levels, so we could be in for more mixed signals."

Thursday's European Central Bank meeting comes as falling eurozone prices turn up the heat on the ECB to prevent the single currency area from slipping into a dangerous deflationary spiral.

Given current low interest rates any additional easing action taken at the Malta meeting would likely take the form of an extension of the central bank's bond purchase programme, known as quantitative easing or QE.

US stocks were mixed, despite solid earnings from Boeing and a $19 billion acquisition of computer storage company SanDisk by Western Digital.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average clung to a modest gain, but the Nasdaq fell as traders weighed big technology deals, mixed earnings and Ferrari's roaring Wall Street debut.

An hour into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,225.96, up 0.05 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.11 percent to 2,028.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.22 percent to 4,870.17.

Dow member Boeing rose 1.87 percent after reporting third-quarter net income up 25.1 percent to $1.7 billion.

Global computer disk drive leader Western Digital announced it will pay $19 billion for flash memory specialist SanDisk. SanDisk rose 2.66 percent, while Western Digital added 0.31 percent.

Shares of legendary supercar maker Ferarri initially soared 15 percent above the IPO price of $52 on their New York debut but later fell back and were 8.33 percent ahead mid-session.

Owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spun off nine percent of the luxury marque on Tuesday, with the subscription price valuing the company at a heady $10 billion.

On the British corporate front Wednesday, shares in Pearson slumped as the publisher cut its annual earnings forecast.

Pearson, which recently struck deals to sell the Financial Times newspaper and The Economist magazine, was London's main loser in shedding a hefty 15.95 percent at 998.50 pence.

Pearson said it expected full-year adjusted earnings of 70-75 pence a share, down from an earlier forecast of 75-80 pence.

French energy giant EDF closed up 0.46 percent in Paris after confirming China will finance one third of Britain's first nuclear power plant in decades to the tune of £6.0 billion (8.2 billion euros, $9.3 billion) in a vast deal backed by the French and scheduled for 2025 completion.

The deal came with Britain on a charm offensive to woo Chinese investment.

Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the investment as "historic" as he hosted visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding the countries had signed deals worth £40 billion (54.6 billion euros, $61.9 billion).

In Asia, a fall in Japanese exports to China in September fanned expectations that Tokyo will unveil fresh stimulus, putting pressure on the yen.

But Tokyo's main stocks index led most Asian equity markets higher despite weak Japanese trade figures.

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