European markets open to close, data, ECB decision

LONDON — European stocks are expected to open lower ahead of the latest interest rate decision from the European Central Bank on Thursday.

The UK’s FTSE index is seen opening 32 points lower at 7,554, Germany’s DAX down 75 points at 14,360, France’s CAC 40 down 35 points at 6,403, and Italy’s FTSE MIB 156 points lower at 24,062, according to data from IG.

European markets will be focused on the forthcoming monetary policy meeting and decision from the ECB on Thursday. The central bank is expected to confirm its intention to raise interest rates next month. The move comes after inflation for the 19-member euro area hit another record high in May.

Markets will be waiting for ECB President Christine Lagarde’s press conference following the meeting to gauge how aggressively the bank could act.

Asia-Pacific stocks were mixed in Thursday trade, with investors watching for market reaction to China’s trade data for May, which performed above expectations. Meanwhile, US stock futures were flat in overnight trading Wednesday after the major averages ended the regular session lower and US Treasury yields rose.

Investors on Wednesday continued to look for signs of slowing economic growth ahead of May’s consumer price index reading, which is slated for Friday. The data is expected to come in slightly below April’s numbers and could indicate that inflation has reached its peak.

There are no major earnings or data releases on Thursday.

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