LONDON ( The Deal) -- European stocks were mixed on Thursday as central banks outside the eurozone took divergent paths on rates and speculation increased that European Central Bank policymakers will engage in government bond buying to boost its balance sheet.
In London, gains from oil companies including BP (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) had largely ebbed away by late morning and weren't enough to lift the FTSE 100, which was down 0.24% at 6,484.44. In Frankfurt, the DAX was up 0.59% at 9,857.92 and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed 0.30% to 4,240.43.
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In Frankfurt, the ECB said lenders had borrowed 129.84 billion euros ($161.6 billion) in its second tranche of cheap loans, up from 82.6 billion euros in September, with the lower-than-expected take-up stoking speculation policymakers will buy up government bonds, a process known as quantitative easing.
Norway's central bank surprised investors by cutting its main rate and suggesting another cut was in the cards as plunging oil prices jeopardize the Nordic economy. The bank cut the rate by 25 basis points to 1.25%, and sees a "50-50 chance" of another cut next year.
But in Moscow, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation raised rates by one percentage point to 10.5% to bolster the falling ruble. The Micex was down 0.39% following the decision.
In Switzerland, the central bank left benchmark rates unchanged at zero.
In the Netherlands, animal and fish feed maker Nutreco (NUTCF) was up almost 4% after Cargill confirmed it's still considering whether to make another offer, after the target batted away a joint bid from the U.S. company and buyout firm Permira in October.
In Milan, Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCAU) was down more than 7% after the company priced an offering of 87 million shares at $11 each. That's 4.1% lower than their close in New York on Wednesday, after the stock slumped 9.5%. Together with a $2.5 billion convertible bond issue, the transactions dilute the carmaker's equity by about a fifth.
In Milan, Telecom Italia (TI) rose sharply after Bloomberg reported that Telefonica, Oi and Claro plan to make an offer for Tim Participacoes. Telecom Italia owns 67% of the Brazilian wireless services company.
In London, the U.K.'s leading grocer Tesco (TSCDY) was down more than 1% after Standard & Poor's placed it on negative CreditWatch after Tuesday's profit warning.
Songbird Estates SBEPF was down well over 1% after Qatar Investment Authority clarified that a binding agreement from one of three small shareholders to have signed up to its hostile 2.6 billion pounds ($4 billion) offer didn't cover a tranche of shares that the investor had bought recently. Qatar Investment Authority also said it will install former Lazard International chairman Ken Costa to fill a vacant board seat the sovereign wealth fund controls at the real estate company.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 0.90% at 23,312.54. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.89% to close at 17,257.40.
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