LONDON ( The Deal) -- European stocks retreated on Thursday ahead of the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting.
Central bankers in Frankfurt will announce their rate decision at 7:45 a.m. EST followed by a press conference at which investors will be looking for news on asset purchase plans.
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Watch the video below for a closer look at how European markets are doing in midday trading Thursday:
Despite flailing eurozone growth, few observers expect further rate cuts after September action that took the benchmark refinancing rate to 0.05%.
The Bank of England also meets Thursday to decide whether to lift British rates beyond the historic low 0.5%, where they have sat for five and a half years.
In London, the FTSE 100 declined 0.30% to 6,519.22. In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.15% at 9,301.50. German factory orders in September expanded by just 0.8% month on month, compared with consensus forecasts for about 2.2% growth.
In Paris, the CAC 40 ceded 0.34% to trade at 4,194.88 by around noon local time.
In Britain, the Competition and Markets Authority confirmed, as expected, that it will launch an investigation into the personal and small business banking markets, aligning with the government's drive to spur competition in the banking sector.
No. 4 grocer William Morrison Supermarkets (MRWSY) was up almost 6% after posting third-quarter figures that suggest its aggressive price cuts are stemming declining same-store revenue and after revising a full-year forecast profit forecast to a narrower, higher range.
Cable & Wireless Communications fell 8% after striking a $1.85 billion deal to buy Caribbean and central America-focused cable TV and Internet provider Columbus International which will give John Malone a stake in the U.K. company.
In Frankfurt, Siemens (SI) edged up marginally after announcing a 2.2 billion-plus euros ($2.7 billion) deal to sell its hearing aids unit to an EQT Partners-led group and pledging to lift its dividend.
Adidas (ADDYY) gained almost 5% after reporting progress on clearing excess stock in Russia and its golfing business. It posted third-quarter figures that were at the upper end of forecasts and confirmed its 2014 sales and profit forecasts. It trimmed its gross margin forecast, however.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped 0.20% to 23,649.31.
Computer maker Lenovo fell more than 5% after predicting Chinese "hypergrowth" in the smartphone market will end.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei fell 0.86% to 16,792.48.
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