European Shares Retreat Ahead Of ECB Meet

european market 021219 09sep21 lt

European stocks fell on Thursday to hover near a three-week low, with growth worries and concerns surrounding regulatory crackdown in China keeping underlying sentiment cautious.

Investors await the ECB decision later in the day against the backdrop of rising global inflation.

The bank is expected to signal a gradual reduction in asset purchases and to keep its key interest rates unchanged. The monetary policy statement is due at 7.45 am ET.

ECB President Christine Lagarde holds her customary press conference at 8.30 am ET. The ECB staff macroeconomic projections is also due. The bank is widely expected to raise its inflation and growth forecasts for 2021.

The pan European Stoxx 600 dropped 0.4 percent to 466.15 after declining 1.1 percent on Wednesday. The German DAX and France's CAC 40 index both slipped around 0.3 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down as much as 1.1 percent.

Swiss drug major Roche fell over 1 percent. The company has signed a definitive share purchase agreement to acquire long-term partner TIB Molbiol Group.

Assa Abloy shares jumped 7 percent after U.S. lock maker Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc agreed to sell its hardware and home improvement division to the Swedish rival for $4.3 billion in cash.

Miners Anglo American and Glencore fell about 1 percent, while oil firm BP Plc declined 1.3 percent and Royal Dutch Shell lost 1.7 percent.

easyJet plunged nearly 10 percent after the airline announced a fully underwritten rights issue to raise gross proceeds of approximately 1.2 billion pounds.

Rivals British Airways-owner IAG and Wizz Air fell 2.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

AstraZeneca shares fell almost 1 percent. The European Medicines Agency has listed the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause temporary paralysis, as a "very rare" side effect of the company's COVID-19 vaccine.

Sanofi declined 1.8 percent. The French pharmaceutical company reported that its phase 3 PEGASUS trial evaluating rilzabrutinib to treat pemphigus, a rare autoimmune skin condition, did not meet its primary or key secondary endpoints.

Merck KGaA shares rallied 1.5 percent. The German chemicals company expects Group sales to grow organically by more than 6 percent annually on average up to 2025.

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