European shares were lower in morning trade on Friday as investors booked profit after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a surprise trio of rate cuts on Thursday.
|FTSE||FTSE 100 Index||6831.96||-46.01||-0.67%||174396654|
|CAC 40||CAC 40 Index||4479.58||-15.36||-0.34%||37688972|
|IBEX 35||IBEX 35 Idx||11104.90||4.80||0.04%||109307176|
US jobs, NATO meeting
The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index was lower, failing to build on Thursday’s rally after a flurry of announcements from the ECB.
Investors are expected to focus on the U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, which is due out in the U.S. at 1:30 p.m. London time. The figures are a key gauge of the strength of the U.S. economy and will be closely watched with the U.S. Federal Reserve looking to hike its benchmark interest rates at some point next year.
Investors are also watching peace talks between Ukraine’s president and pro-Russian rebels on Friday. The separatists have said they are willing to sign a truce agreement if a political solution can be found for their region. Fighting continued on Friday at the eastern Ukrainian town of Mariupol where Reuters reported that fresh shelling had been witnessed.
Meanwhile in Wales, world leaders met again for the NATO summit to discuss events in Iraq and Ukraine. On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen accused Russia of “attacking” neighboring Ukraine.
BP shares steady
In stocks news, the banking sector managed to post slim gains in morning trade after a strong rally after the ECB announcements. Mining stocks were the major laggard with the sector seeing weakness this weak with lower commodity prices.
BP shares were higher by 0.8 percent following a sharp fall on Thursday on a decision by a U.S. judge which found the oil major “grossly negligent” and “reckless” in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010.
Neopost – which makes equipment – saw its shares rise nearly 6 percent after a price target upgrade by Societe Generale.
ECB goes ‘above and beyond’
Traders will also continue to digest the news stimulus measures that were announced by the ECB on Thursday afternoon. The central bank surprised markets by cutting interest rates to new record lows and announcing a bond-buying program. The euro fell to a 13-month low before regaining some ground and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed at its highest since January 2008.
“The ECB meeting was promising to deliver fireworks and did just that as the central bank surprised by cutting rates and announcing a private QE (quantitative easing),” Stan Shamu, a market strategist at brokerage IG said in a morning note.
“Expectations were high heading into the meeting and the ECB certainly went above and beyond.”