European shares rise on hopes of ECB action

June 6, 2019

(Reuters) – European shares rose on Thursday, as expectations the European Central Bank will provide more stimulus for an ailing euro zone economy countered disappointment over the collapse of Renault-Nissan’s merger with Fiat-Chrysler.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.3% by 0717 GMT, with the auto sector, down 0.48%, preventing stronger gains.

Shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles MV slipped 1.6%, weighing on Milan’s bluechip index, after the Italian carmaker abandoned its $35 billion offer for Renault SA. Renault’s shares slumped about 8%.

Fearful of a global recession, markets have been in a state of flux this week, with worries over Washington’s escalating trade tensions with Beijing and Mexico giving way to hopes that major central banks would provide fresh stimulus in response.

The ECB, which announces its interest rate decision at 1130 GMT, is expected to seek to give the economy a boost and may even set the stage for more action later this year as the trade tensions unravel the benefits of years of ECB stimulus.

In a well-flagged move, ECB President Mario Draghi will likely offer to pay banks if they borrow cash from the central bank and pass it on to households and firms. Draghi’s news conference is at 1230 GMT.

Interest-rate sensitive banks were marginally lower with French bank Credit Agricole down 1% after unveiling a new set of higher profit targets for 2022 while saying it expects a lower return on tangible equity.

(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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