European stocks up ahead of ECB meeting

European stocks up ahead of ECB meeting

The European stocks opened higher on Thursday ahead of the European Central Bank meeting. The main questions of the upcoming conference are the monetary policy decision, stimulus program reduction, and the strengthening of the European currency.

Investors expect that the Central Bank will leave interest rates at the current level of 0,00%. Also, the ECB head Mario Draghi should make statements about their plans on the asset-purchase program. The markets are afraid that the program exit may be delayed because of the recent strengthening of the European currency – EUR has reached a 2.5-year highs.

During the morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose by 0.26%, French CAC 40 – by 0.14%, and German DAX 30 – by 0.55%.

The financial sector of Europe was mainly traded in the red zone. French BNP Paribas and Societe Generale lost 0.70% and 0.66% respectively, German Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank fell by 0.6% and 1.14%, Italian Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit moved down by 0.13% and 1.05 %, while the Spanish BBVA lost 0.20%.

Among the companies traded in the positive territory were Daimler AG, whose shares rose by 1.40%, and a German energy firm E.ON. Its shares added 1.60% after the repost on a new project launch in Texas.

On the London Stock Exchange, the FTSE 100 gained 0.04% in the wake of the Imperial Brands growth by 2.95%. The tobacco company reported on Thursday that it sold 13.3 million shares of Compania de Distribucion Integral Logista Holdings SA for 230.8 million pounds.

The financial sector in London followed Europe and traded lower: Barclays fell by 0.25%, HSBC Holdings lost 0.40%, while Lloyds Banking and Royal Bank of Scotland moved down by 0.96% and 1.20% respectively.

The mining sector also was down. Fresnillo shares lost 0.80%, Glencore – 1.35%, and its competitor BHP Billiton lost 2.35%.

The European currency rose by 0.1% to $1.1925 not far from the last week mark of $1.2070, the highest level since January 2015.

The dollar declined by 0.2% to 109.02 yen, but remained close to the weekly low of 108.45 yen reached on Wednesday.

The Canadian dollar reached $1.2224, taking a pause after the strong growth due to an unexpected interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada. Yesterday CAD touched $1.2140 (the record mark since June 2015) immediately after the news that the Canadian CB raised the rate to 1%, while experts thought that the increase would be delayed till October.