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European Stocks Subdued In Cautious Trade Ahead Of ECB Policy

stockmarkets aug20 10sep20 lt

European stocks are broadly lower Thursday afternoon as investors make largely cautious moves ahead of European Central Bank's monetary policy announcement.

Markets are also digesting a slew of economic data from the zone. Stocks from most of the sectors are turning in a subdued performance.

The pan European Stoxx 600 is down by about 0.4% at 368.16. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 is lower by about 0.6% at 5,976.00 and France's CAC 40 is down 0.23% at 5,031.32. Switzerland's SMI is declining 0.44% at 10,360.53.

In the UK market, Morrison Supermarkets, Meggitt, Ds Smith, J Sainsbury, Tesco, HSBC Holdings and Antofagast are down 2 to 4%.

Ashtead Group is rising more than 5%. TUI is gaining about 2.5%, while EasyJet, ITV, Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey and Hiscox are up 1 to 2%.

In Germany, Wirecard and Covestro are both lower by about 2.5%. Munice RE, Deutsche Bank and Infineon Technologies are also notably lower, while Continental, Henkel, HeidelbergCement, Adidas and BMW are up with sharp to moderate gains.

In the French market, Unibail Rodamco, Technip, Veolia, Credit Agricole and Publicis Groupe are down 1 to 1.75%, while Peugeot and Valeo are rising 3.7% and 3.5%, respectively. BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are up with modest gains.

The ECB's monetary policy announcement is due at 7.45 am ET. A little later, at 8.30 am ET, ECB President Christine Lagarde will be addressing a news conference.

The ECB is widely expected to hold policy tools unchanged. Markets will be keen to know the bank's views on economic recovery, inflation and euro's surge against the dollar.

In other economic news, UK house prices increased at the strongest pace since 2016 as almost all regions logged price increases, survey data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, or RICS, showed.

The house price balance rose to +44% in August, the highest reading since 2016, from +13% registered in July. The expected balance was +25%.percent.

France's industrial production expanded for the third straight month but the pace of increase was the weakest in the current sequence of growth, the statistical office Insee reported.

Industrial production climbed 3.8% month-on-month, slower than the 13% increase posted in June. This was also weaker than the expected increase of 5%.

Likewise, manufacturing growth eased to 4.5% from 14.8% a month ago. Mining and quarrying output remained flat in July and construction output expanded 5% in July.

Italy's industrial production grew more than expected in July driven by capital and intermediate goods, according to data from the statistical office Istat. Industrial output climbed 7.4% from June, when it was up 8.2%. Economists had forecast a monthly growth of 3.5%.

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