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European Shares Seen Up As Investors Look To ECB

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European stocks look set to open a tad higher on Thursday ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting, slated for today.

While no major policy changes are expected, it remains to be seen whether ECB President Mario Draghi will signal measures towards winding down the bank's quantitative easing program at some point this autumn.

The euro inched higher against the dollar and gold rose towards one-year high hit earlier this week, while oil held steady after rising more than 1 percent on Wednesday as refiners revved up plants pounded by Hurricane Harvey.

Asian stocks are trading mixed as geopolitical concerns faded somewhat and investors braced for Chinese trade figures expected to show another month of solid growth.

Meanwhile, the South Korea's defense ministry confirmed that the U.S. military has deployed the four remaining launchers for the high-tech missile-defence system to better cope against Pyongyang's threats.

In economic releases, Destatis is slated to release German industrial output data for July. Economists expect output to grow 0.6 percent sequentially, reversing a 1.1 percent fall in June. Also, French foreign trade figures will be released later in the day.

Overnight, the major U.S. averages rose about 0.3 percent each and the dollar rebounded after President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed to raise the debt ceiling and government funding for three months.

On the economic front, the Fed's Beige Book survey as well as service sector activity data painted a positive picture of the world's largest economy while the July trade deficit increased slightly in July.

European markets ended Wednesday's session mostly higher despite North Korea jitters. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index closed 0.1 percent higher at 373.95.

The German DAX rose 0.8 percent and France's CAC 40 index inched up 0.3 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped 0.3 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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