- ECB stands pat
- S&P raises view on Portuguese sovereign debt outlook
- Successful Spanish debt auction
- Long-term debt yields lower in 'periphery'
FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.30%
Ibex 35: 0.36%
Stoxx 600: -0.06%
The main European equity indices finished the day slightly in the blue following what at first glance was a rather neutral press conference from the European Central Bank´s (ECB) President, Mario Draghi. The ECB sees downside risks to growth and did indeed talk about the possibility of a rate cut at Thursday´s meeting but even so the tone of Draghi´s remarks was quite neutral.
This is what economists at Morgan Stanley told clients: "To balance the relatively hawkish tone, the ECB repeats that it would leave its current accommodative monetary policy in place as long as needed, including the current fixed rate full allotment, and that it was monitoring money markets closely to assess the effective policy stance.
"In addition, the Bank will monitor "very, very closely" the risks of inflation falling too far below its price stability norm. Hence, there is still the possibility of a rate cut, but it remains an outside chance, we think."
Other economists also chose to focus on Draghi´s new reference to a willingness to maintain a loose policy stance as long as needed. That seems to indicate his willingness to tolerate a slow economic recovery, yet a recovery nevertheless. If economic data worsened significantly however, then things might change.
For its part, and as expected, the Bank of England, opted to maintain an unchanged policy stance, some market commentary is holding out the possibility that what the BoE is in fact waiting for is a change of remit from the government.
Overnight ratings agency Standard&Poor´s (S&P) raised its outlook on Portugal´s sovereign debt to neutral from negative.
The Spanish Treasury successfully sold €5.4bn of debt this morning with rising bid-to-cover ratios and falling yields seen across the full maturity spectrum.
A tale of two firms
French food retailing giant Carrefour has unveiled a small drop, of 2.6%, in its operating income, as it took a hit from its operations in Spain and Italy.
Nevertheless, worse was expected and the company also announced increased capital expenditures aimed at countering the above.
German athletic wear manufacturer Adidas is expecting an increase in sales and profits for this year as it moves to focus on emerging markets. The company raised its dividend by 35%.
Re-insurer Hannover Re expects net income to contract by 7% this year, to roughly €800m.
Poor economic data
German factory orders dropped by 1.9% month-on-month in January (Consensus: 0.6%).
Single currency moves up
The euro/dollar rose by 1.03%, to 1.3110.
Front month Brent crude futures were down by 0.217 dollars to the 110.83 dollar
mark on the ICE.