European Shares Seen Lower; Rate Decisions Eyed

European shares are called to open the trading day lower as markets remain cautious ahead of interest rate decisions from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

Close-up of a pen on stock price chart
Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

The FTSE 100 is seen lower by 9 points, Germany’s DAX is called down by 21 points and the CAC 40is expected to open lower by 9 points.

The ECB is widely expected to cut interest rates to a record low of 0.75 percent in an attempt to ease the euro zone debt crisis and offer some cover for the increasingly dire economic data out of the bloc.

With an equally dire economic outlook in the UK expectations are high for further monetary stimulus by the Bank of England as it attempts to stave off a deepening recession.

It is expected that the third round of quantitative easing will inject 50 billion pounds ($78 billion) into the economy adding to the 325 billion pounds that has already been injected into the economy.

British lawmakers will vote later Thursday on the type of inquiry that should be held in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal that has decimated the board of British bank Barclaysat the epicenter of the scandal. Ex-CEO Bob Diamond, so far the most high-profile scalp in the crisis, appeared in front of a parliamentary committee for three hours on Wednesday.

The government favors a parliamentary inquiry which will be smaller in scale and likely less intrusive – and expensive - than a judge-led inquiry, like the Leveson inquiry into media ethics, which opposition party Labour favor.

German carmakers Volkswagen and Porsche committed themselves to speed up the merger of their businesses with VW buying out the remainder of the 50.1 percent stake it does not yet own paying Porsche 4.46 billion euros and one ordinary VW share.

Ireland makes a return to the bond markets Thursday since its bailout in 2010 when it tenders up to 500 million euros ($626 million) in 3-month bills at 10.40 BST.