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Stocks steady ahead of ECB meeting

European stock markets are broadly higher this morning as traders look ahead to the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting this afternoon.

The ECB meeting will take place at 12:45pm (UK time), and the press conference will start at 1.30pm (UK time). Traders are not expecting any change to the monetary policy, we are likely to hear about future alternations to the stimulus package. All eyes will be on Mario Draghi, the ECB President, as he is tipped to talk about reducing the size of the bond buying scheme. The ECB Chief has several options at hand, and he may change the type of bonds purchased or extend the timeline.

The IBEX 35 is also be in focus today as the Spanish Senate will begin its two day meeting to decide whether or not to impose direct rule on Catalonia. Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan President, declined an opportunity to address the Spanish Senate as he believed the Madrid administration has already made up their mind.  

Barclays shares are down 6.5% despite the bank posting a 40% jump in third-quarter profits. Revenue from fixed income, currencies, and commodities (FICC) fell by 34%, and investment banking earnings were down too. Cost cutting and a lack of provisions for the mis-selling of payment production insurance (PPI) helped the finance house boost profits on the quarter, but investors were spooked by the large decline in trading revenue.

EUR/USD is steady ahead of the all-important ECB update. For several months now, traders have been expecting Mr Draghi to talk about scaling back the stimulus package, so to some extent it is priced in.

GBP/USD has pulled back after an impressive bullish move yesterday when the UK revealed stronger than expected growth figures.  

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open 17 points higher at 23,446, and we are calling the S&P 500 up 2 points at 2559.

At 1.30pm (UK time) the US will announce the pending homes sales for September, and the consensus is for 0.2%, and that would be an improvement on August’s drop of 2.6%. 

Alphabet, Amazon, American Airlines Group, Intel, Twitter and Ford will announce their quarterly figures today.

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