European stocks rose Thursday while London fell as a general election and the latest ECB decision took center stage for investors.
Stocks rose and the euro fell sharply after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi trimmed inflation forecasts for the currency area and repeated his view that the region's recovery still needs a loose monetary policy stance.
In London, the FTSE 100 was weighed down by ex-dividends, other company specific news and the shadow of a general election that has far-reaching implications for the British establishment's approach to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
The FTSE 100 slipped by 0.37% to close at 7,451 while, in Frankfurt, the DAX rose 0.34% to settle at 12,716. The CAC 40 was up a fraction for the session, at 5,267. Both the FTSE MIB in Milan and the IBEX in Madrid were up in southern Europe.
Advertising agency WPP (WPPGF) stock was also found swimming near the bottom of the index for the second day running as investors continue to rotate out of the shares in the wake of management having unveiled a slowdown in organic growth ahead of Wednesday's annual shareholder meeting.
Over in Frankfurt, RWE (RWEOY) and E.ON (EONGY) were among the top gainers, also for a second day running, after a German court ruled that the government must repay more than €4 billion of inappropriate taxes levied from the pair.
The move by the court has prompted investors to rethink their assessments of everything from balance sheet leverage to dividend prospects at the two power companies.
In Paris, Remy Cointreau (REMYF) saw its shares rise by as much as 4% on Thursday after it reported better than expected full year sales and earnings, thanks to strong demand for its liqueur in China.
Santander (SAN) - Get Banco Santander SA Report was the top riser in Spain, with a gain of around 5%, as investors continued to cheer it having bought the country's fourth largest lender for just €1 Wednesday.
However, in a possible sign of trouble ahead, the deal has failed to move the dial for analysts at Germany's Berenberg.
"Strategy is focused on size and growth over returns, with ongoing denial of its capital shortfall. Santander is overvalued & undercapitalised; risk has increased and we reiterate our Sell recommendation" said Andrew Lowe.
Lowe has assigned a price target of €3.00 to Santander stock, which rose above the €6.00 threshold Thursday, suggesting downside of more than 50% from current levels.