Market action was subdued on Thursday morning ahead of the latest policy meeting of the European central bank but a new 2016 high for the price of oil has kept nerves in check.
There is no expected policy change at today’s European Central Bank meeting, which could mean ECB President Mario Draghi gets political by defending the bank against German criticism. Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and politicians from Bavaria have been particularly critical, calling QE a failed policy and blaming the ECB for the rise of right-wing parties.
Sweden’s Riksbank left interest rates negative at -0.5% but raised its bond-buying target to 245bn Swedish krona in an effort to boost inflation and hold down the value of the currency. The policy has already failed on the second count since the SEK rallied in the immediate aftermath of the decision in another sign that extraordinary monetary policies are reach the limit of effectiveness.
Sky was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 after reporting a 5% rise in revenues over the first nine months of its reporting year was offset by concerns over a German ruling on Bundesliga football television viewing rights. Sky is already feeling the pressure from BT over viewing rights for The Premiership and the Champions League in the UK and this ruling opens up same possibility in Germany from local competition.
US stocks are set for a higher open following positive results after hours from American Express and KFC and Pizza Hut operator Yum Brands.
Notable earnings before the US open: Verizon, Biogen, General Motors, Blackstone
Notable earnings after the close: Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Visa, Starbucks
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