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Europe shares close flat after ECB rate cut

Thursday, 7 Nov 2013 | 11:30 AM ET
European market closes flat
Thursday, 7 Nov 2013 | 11:30 AM ET
European equities closed flat on Thursday, despite initially rallying after the European Central Bank cut its main interest rate to 0.25 percent from 0.50 percent.

European equities closed flat on Thursday, despite initially rallying after the European Central Bank (ECB) cut its main interest rate to 0.25 percent from 0.50 percent.

  Name Price   Change %Change Volume
FTSE
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DAX
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CAC 40
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IBEX 35
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The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index provisionally closed flat, despite an initial rally after the ECB's decision. European shares turned lower late on Thursday, after data showed the U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter, fuelling concerns about when the Federal Reserve might cut back on its stimulus and sending U.S.stocks lower.

Britain's FTSE 100 fell for the third straight day, down 0.7 percent, with some traders attributing this to a rise in sterling that could hit U.K. exporters following the ECB's rate cut.

(Read more: ECB cuts rates to new low of 0.25%, euro sinks)

Some analysts had expected the ECB to cut rates or make some kind of liquidity provision at Thursday's meeting, following a plunge in inflation to 0.7 percent year-on-year in October, combined with the euro's recent strength. Asian shares fell on Thursday amid caution before the ECB's policy meeting.

"(The ECB is) clearly addressing falling inflation across the euro zone. Stocks are rallying hard – DAX up 100 points, EuroStoxx 50 jumps up 34 points. Bunds move sharply higher while the euro slumps – big surprise," Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital said in a research note.

"Although there were expectations for a rate cut today, most ruled it out, anticipating the central bank to hold fire until perhaps December."

BoE unchanged

Meanwhile, the Bank of England (BoE) left interest rates at a record low of 0.5 percent and its asset purchase target unchanged at £375 billion as expected on Thursday.

The focus will now shift to the central bank's inflation report due on Wednesday 13 November with Governor Mark Carney likely to give an update on growth forecasts and any updates on policy.

(Read More: BoE leaves rates,asset purchase target unchanged)

US GDP

The U.S. economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter as businesses restocked shelves, but a slowdown in consumer and business spending pointed to an underlying weakness.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate, the quickest pace since the third quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. It was an acceleration from a 2.5 percent clip in the second quarter and beat economists' expectations for a 2.0 percent rate.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department suggested the jobs market continued to gradually improve.

U.S. stocks were lower on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average halting its record advance.

(Read More: US growth surprises in Q3; jobless queue shortens)

ECB cuts main refinancing rate to 0.25%
Kit Juckes, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Societe Generale, Antonio Garcia Pascual, chief euro area economist at Barclays, and Justin Knight, head of European rates strategy at UBS, discuss the European Central Bank rate cut.

Siemens shares higher

Global advertising firm Havas saw its shares closed down by 3.84 percent after its third-quarter earnings were released on Wednesday evening, highlighting slow growth in North America.

French oil surveying firm CGG cut its full-year sales target due to weak demand for its seismic equipment; shares closed down 8.09 percent. Shares of U.K satellite communications group Inmarsat also closed lower by 2.6 percent, after announcing a fall in its third-quarter revenues.

(Read More: Live blog: Markets and ECB rate decision)

In other stocks news, shares of German lender Commerzbank closed higher by 10.10 percent after posting a 15 percent rise in quarterly net profit, adding that the strategic overhaul of the group was on track.

(Read More: Commerzbank profit rises, says overhaul on track)

French banking group Societe Generale reported third-quarter net profit of 534 million euros ($722.3 million) on Thursday, below expectations in a Reuters poll of 583 million euros. The figure was an increase from 90 million euros net profit reported in the same quarter last year, however. Shares closed higher by 2.9 percent in Thursday morning trade.

(Read More: SocGen net profit jumps but falls short of forecast)

Shares of German engineering group Siemens climbed higher by 3.38 percent after it announced a small rise in fourth-quarter revenue on Thursday and said it expected growth to pick up in 2014.

(Read More: Siemens profits dip, announces share buyback)

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