European Shares Set To Open Higher Ahead Of ECB Rate Decision

European stocks may open higher on Thursday as focus shifts to the European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting later in the day.

The ECB is likely to raise interest rates for a 10th consecutive meeting but it’s a close call, given growing concerns about growth.

The central bank will update its forecasts for growth and inflation at today’s meeting.

Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve may opt to leave its policy rate unchanged at its Sept. 20 meeting, but markets now see a 40 percent chance of a quarter-point rate increase at the central bank’s November meeting.

Asian markets edged higher, gold inched up on dollar weakness and two-year Treasury yields remained below 5 percent, while oil prices resumed their upward trend after settling slightly lower Wednesday on data showing an unexpected increase in the U.S. crude oil stocks.

Trading later in the day may be impacted by reaction to a slew of U.S. economic data, including reports on weekly jobless claims, retail sales and producer price inflation.

U.S. stocks ended mixed overnight as the release of hot August inflation report kept bets of one more Fed rate hike alive.

Data showed consumer prices increased 3.7 percent year-per-year last month, slightly ahead of the estimated 3.6 percent. Core inflation rose 4.3 percent, matching expectations.

The Dow slipped 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.3 percent.

European stocks closed lower on Wednesday as investors reacted to weak eurozone industrial production and U.K. GDP data.

The pan European STOXX 600 eased 0.3 percent. The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 both fell around 0.4 percent while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 finished marginally lower.

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