European stocks retreated from 5 year highs this morning as investors cashed in near 5 year highs ahead of a much debated ECB rate decision and US GDP numbers to give an all-important taper insight. While some analysts have been bold enough to predict a cut, the focal point is more likely to be the ceremonial grilling of Mario Draghi, where journalists will be lining up to try a draw out a plan and a timescale to address last week’s inflation numbers. While keeping one eye on the ECB president, traders will also be absorbing US GDP numbers, with any miss likely to heighten concerns over the impact of the October shutdown on Q4 numbers, a topic of much concern to many at the time, which seems to have been all but forgotten in the most recent bull run. A 14% hike in the value of new business will be a welcome distraction for Aviva shareholders, who have had to endure a whirlwind shake up over the last few weeks. Analysts have voiced concerns over instability after Hayley Robinson and Sam Hudson become the latest in a long line of senior management to call time on their tenure. New CEO Mark Wilson has pointed to more change though, with the current cost cutting shake up “still in its infancy”. The army of cyclists that have taken to the roads this summer have boosted profits at Halfords, with H1 profits up 6.4%. A second successive British victory in the Tour de France and a scorching summer has seen record interest in two wheel transport, and subsequent bumper profits are well timed for Halfords, who are in the early stages of a large scale investment to ramp up flagging sales. Q3 Pre-tax losses at mining firm Talvivaara have hit 38.6m Euros, with a near 50% drop in net sales as weak Nickel prices weigh on income. The firm claimed that Nickel prices had plunged over 20% from Q1, but more worrying for investors will be a significant impact on liquidity. The firm is in “advanced discussions” with some stakeholders on a financing solution to solve its liquidity needs. On the continent, strong Q3 numbers from Commerzbank and ArcelorMittal see both stocks move higher in early trade. The former surged over 9% as income came in at 77m Euros smashing expectations of around 32m. Core profit at ArcelorMittal was up 18.5% on last year, aided by an increase in iron ore shipments and cost saving measures. CMC Markets is an execution only service 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.