European and Asian Stocks Pause Following Surprise ECB Rate Cut

LONDON (The Deal) -- Asian markets failed to react overnight to Thursday's surprise decision by the European Central Bank to cut interest rates and go on a bond-buying spree. Many European markets also paused for breath this morning after Thursday's rally.

In Germany, industrial output jumped by an unexpectedly vigorous 1.9% in July, which was well ahead of expectations. That news pushed Frankfurt's DAX index back into positive territory after a gloomy start. But the market later seemed fazed by Eurostat's unspectacular second-quarter growth estimates for the eurozone and the wider European Union economies. Quarter-on-quarter eurozone GDP was flat, while wider E.U. growth was 0.2%. By late morning the DAX was back in the red, down 0.27% at 9,697.

But in Paris and London, traders were looking for direction from U.S. nonfarm payroll figures out later Friday. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.52% to 4,471 and London's FTSE 100 fell 0.37% at 6,853.

Banks seemed largely unaffected by last night's ruling by U.S. Federal Judge Denise Cote that investors may press claims against 12 big lenders -- seven of them European -- for violating antitrust law by limiting competition and fixing prices in the $21 trillion CDS market. But in London, mining stocks such as Randgold Resources (RGORF) , Fresnillo  (FNLPF) and Anglo American  (AAUKY) were among the big fallers, following the lead from Australia overnight where the metals and mining sector was hit by a slump in iron ore prices.

On the positive side, though, former Barclays boss Bob Diamond has chosen to ignore the threats from Ebola and Islamist terrorists, His Atlas Mara African investment vehicle exercised an option to increase its stake in the Union Bank of Nigeria to nearly 30%. The bank's stock slid almost 0.5% on the Lagos market this morning, but in London, Atlas Mara was up 0.29% at $10.28.

Sydney's S&P ASX 200 closed down 0.58% at 5,598.69, while in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 opened higher on the weak yen, before sliding back to close down 0.05% at 15,668.68.

 

 

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