European Shares Seen Opening Steady As Rate Worries Ebb; ECB Meeting Eyed

European stocks may open on a steady note Thursday despite lingering worries about a financial crisis, with focus shifting from the United States to Europe.

As recession worries mount, investors are now expecting a dramatic easing of policy from the world’s central banks.

The European Central Bank (ECB) meets later today, and it is likely that the central bank will not follow through with its pre-commitment of a 50-basis-point hike because of concerns about the health of Europe’s banks.

The Federal Reserve is expected to pause or go slow on interest rate hikes when it publishes new projections for the future path of the U.S. benchmark rate next week.

Elsewhere, the chance of a Bank of England rate pause next week stands at around 50 percent.

Asian markets traded broadly lower, but were off their day’s lows, tracking gains in the U.S. stock futures.

Safe-haven currencies like the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen were in demand while gold edged lower after climbing over 1 percent to its highest since early February on Wednesday. Oil prices rose over 1 percent after falling to 2021 lows overnight.

U.S. stocks ended mostly lower overnight as banks continued to feel the brunt of selling pressure on concerns over the ripple effect of the SVB meltdown.

On the economic front, U.S. retail sales fell modestly in February in line with expectations and producer prices unexpectedly declined in the month, while a measure of New York manufacturing fell more than expected in March, separate reports showed.

The Dow shed 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 declined 0.7 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished marginally higher, tracking lower yields as investors dialed back of expectations of Fed rate hikes.

European stocks tumbled on Wednesday as fresh turmoil at Swiss lender Credit Suisse raised concerns about the U.S. banking crisis spreading to Europe.

The pan European STOXX 600 slumped 2.9 percent. The German DAX plunged 3.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 index plummeted 3.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gave up 3.8 percent.

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