- ECB has work left to do economists say
- Eurozone inflation figures come in below forecasts
- Traders in holding pattern ahead of FOMC meeting
FTSE Mibtel 30: -0.88%
Ibex 35: -0.02%
Stoxx 600: -0.07%
Equity markets ended the day in a mixed fashion ahead of this evening's Federal Reserve policy meeting.
Focusing investors' attention was the release of the latest Eurozone consumer prices figures.
Eurozone consumer prices rose by 0.7% year-on-year in April, a tenth of a percentage point less than had been forecast by consensus.
Capital Economics highlighted the very low readings on core goods prices, excluding energy. In their opinion that merits action on the part of the ECB.
"Accordingly, we still believe that the ECB has more work to do to eradicate the risk of a damaging bout of deflation in the Eurozone," the think-tank said.
Also of interest, the results of the latest ECB bank lending survey showed a broad increase in demand for loans albeit while the actual flow of lending remained depressed.
Hence, Barclays Research reiterated its call that the ECB will pursue "targeted" measures to help get credit flowing.
Those may include a longer-term refinancing operation targeted towards encouraging bank lending to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or an asset backed securities (ABS) purchase programme, supported by the necessary regulatory changes aimed at revitalising high-quality securitisation in Europe.
Acting as a backdrop, Ukraine's acting President warned that the spread of unrest must be prevented.
In parallel, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slashed its forecast for Russia's economic growth this year to just 0.2% from 1.3% beforehand, adding that the country should prepare for a further contraction.
Retail stocks lead losses
From a sector standpoint, and within the DJ Stoxx 600, the largest losses were being seen in the following industry groups: Real estate (-0.91%) and Utilities (-0.82%).
France's Alstom is reviewing a binding offer from US industrial conglomerate General Electric for its energy business, but it has left the door open for a competing bid from Germany's Siemens. The shares
shot 12% higher after a trading halt was lifted.
BNP Paribas may be facing a fine in the US well in excess of $1.1bn, the lender warned.
Spain's BBVA posted a 64% drop in first quarter net profits to €624m, largely due to the sale of assets one year ago, making for more challenging comparisons.
German car-maker Daimler unveiled first quarter operating profits that doubled.
Euro edges higher
The euro/dollar was 0.41% higher at 1.3870.
Front-month Brent crude futures were off by 1.029% to the $107.88/barrel mark on the ICE.