It’s calm across European stock markets ahead of what could be a storm surrounding the European Central Bank interest rate decision and ECB President Mario Draghi’s press conference. The German DAX was slightly higher, lifted by strong earnings from carmaker Daimler while the French CAC and UK’s FTSE 100 were a touch lower. The British pound surged after UK retail sales beat expectations, rising 6.5% year over year and 1.9% month over month. Excluding fuel, retail sales are up 5.9% over the year. Daimler shares rose after beating earnings expectations while reporting a 13% rise in quarterly revenues. Daimler has benefited from the overall rise in European car sales this year but strong demand for its new vehicles including new Mercedes SUVs is also helping it to outstrip peers such as Audi. Telecoms was the best performing sector on the FTSE 100 with Sky still winning investor favour following its strong earnings report on Wednesday. Industrials propped up the UK benchmark stock index after poorly-received results from Wickes-owner Travis Perkins weighed on sector peers. Travis Perkins shares dropped 7% to nine-month lows after warning full-year profits will be at the lower end of the spectrum. The owner of DIY-store Wickes reported 2.6% like-for-like sales growth in the third quarter, well down from the 5.7% rise in the first half of the year. US markets are set for a stronger open Thursday, led higher by ebay shares which are expected to pop following a smaller than expected drop in profits after splitting with Paypal. Ebay shares could open as much as 9% higher after the ecommerce company beat third quarter earnings expectations. The strength of the dollar played its part again as trading volumes rose 6% on the year but currency effects led to a 2.4% fall in revenue since half of ebay’s business is outside of the United States. American Express shares are expected to drop on the open after the credit-card company missed profit expectations. Earnings are expected from Caterpillar, McDonald’s and 3M before the opening bell with Google (now called “Alphabet”), Amazon and Microsoft all reporting after the close. USA pre-opening levels S&P 500: 6 points higher at 2,024 Dow Jones: 33 points higher at 17,201 Nasdaq 100: 18 points higher at 4,431 CMC Markets is an execution only provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.