European markets open to close, ECB rate decision in focus
LONDON — European stocks are expected to open higher on Thursday, reflecting positive global momentum after a dour start to the trading week.
Investors in the region will be looking out for the latest monetary policy announcement from the European Central Bank on Thursday. The central bank’s new inflation target and its possible effects on monetary policy will be the key topic of this week’s meeting in Frankfurt.
Earnings will also be watched Thursday to gauge the impact of the pandemic on the business community in Europe, with the latest figures from Unilever, Valeo, Publicis, ABB, Roche and Centrica and Mulberry Group, among others.
The positive start seen for Europe’s markets comes amid far more buoyant sentiment than was seen at the start of the week, when there was a rout in global markets amid fears over rising Covid cases and global growth.
U.S. stock index futures were flat in overnight trading on Wednesday, however, although the major averages advanced during regular trading to turn positive for the week.
Wednesday’s gains built on Tuesday’s strong session, and the major averages have now erased the losses from Monday’s sell-off when the Dow dropped more than 700 points.
For more clues on the state of health of the U.S. economy, investors will be watching the weekly jobless claims number from the Department of Labor on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting the number of first-time filings to be 350,000, down from the prior reading of 360,000.
Meanwhile, shares in Asia-Pacific were higher in Thursday trade, with markets in Japan closed for a holiday.
Still, concerns over the coronavirus situation in Asia-Pacific continued to weigh on regional sentiment on Thursday. Australia’s two largest states on Wednesday reported sharp increases in new Covid infections, while Indonesia saw record high deaths from the virus, according to Reuters.
Data releases in Europe on Thursday include Dutch unemployment data for June and consumer confidence figures for July, France’s business climate data for July and UK. CBI business optimism figures for the third quarter.
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– CNBC’s Pippa Stevens and Eustance Huang contributed to this market report.