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Lackluster open for European markets ahead of ECB rate decision

·2 mins

European markets opened lower ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy meeting. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.2% in early trade, with most sectors trading in the red. Autos and retail stocks were both 1% lower, while insurance added 0.3%. The central bank is convening amid falling inflation and a slight recovery in economic activity but it is expected to hold rates at a record 4%. Market expectations are that a rate cut will come in June. Asia stocks rose overnight after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday. He reiterated his stance that while the central bank could start cutting rates, it was “not immediately ready.” U.S. stock futures inched down Thursday after the major averages posted their first winning session in three days. “Exogenous shocks remain a real threat,” a global head of private capital advisory said. UK house prices increased for the fifth consecutive month in February, marking an increase of 1.7% year-on-year. The data suggests cautious confidence is returning to the market in anticipation of a reduction in interest rates later this year. India’s economic prospects are attracting global investors eager to capitalize on the country’s growth potential. The International Monetary Fund expects India’s real GDP to expand by 6.5% in 2024. Many growth stocks are becoming expensive, prompting some investors to turn to value stocks. European markets are set to open flat to lower on Thursday. The European Central Bank will announce its latest monetary policy and several companies are expected to announce their earnings results.