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Market Update

European Markets Flat Ahead of ECB, BoE

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European markets were flat ahead of policy meetings in the U.K. and in Europe later in the day.

The FTSE edged up 0.1% The CAC 40 Paris also edged up 0.1% while the German DAX slipped 0.1%.

Both the Bank of England and the ECB are expected to keep interest rates on hold although investors expect the ECB could reiterate a possibility of easing policy further if inflation stays too low.

Earlier Thursday, industry data showed the French trade balance fell unexpectedly last month.

A number of reports including consumer confidence, business climate indicator, and German industrial production data are due later in the day from the euro-zone.

In the U.S., minutes of the Fed’s December 17-18 policy meeting released late Wednesday revealed many members of the policy committee were adopting a cautious approach with regard to winding down stimulus measures.

Stocks on the Move

Shares of Tesco PLC, the world’s third biggest retailer, fell about 3% in London after the company reported a significant drop in underlying sales in its main domestic market during the Christmas trading period.

Marks and Spencer edged up 0.1%.

Food Retailer Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC fell over 5% after it reported a like-for-like fall in sales for the Christmas period and said it now expects full-year underlying profit to be at the bottom of the range of current market estimates.

Rolls-Royce was down 0.2%. Bloomberg reported the company is in talks to buy the ship engine unit of Finland’s Wartsila.

French food group Danone SA was down about half a percent after it said it would sue wholesale diary exporter Fonterra and stop buying products from the New Zealand based company following a contamination scare.

Novartis AG was marginally higher. Bloomberg reported the company is in talks with Merck to exchange its animal-health and human vaccines businesses for the drug-maker's over-the-counter health-products unit.

Deutsche Bank declined 0.7%.

Rouhan Sharma does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.