Europe eyes rally on hopes of ECB action

Europe shares are expected to open higher on Thursday on expectations that pessimistic euro zone data could prompt the European Central Bank (ECB) to implement more aggressive stimulus measures.

The FTSE is seen up 76 points at 6,496, the DAX up 141 points at 9,659 and the French CAC up 63 points at 4,176.

Data from the euro zone on Wednesday showed the region’s inflation rate fell into negative territory for the first time since 2009. The figures add more pressure on the ECB to launch a U.S. Federal-Reserve-style bond-buying program.

There has been resistance to any quantitative easing program from countries like Germany, however, and now markets are awaiting the outcome of the ECB’s meeting on January 22 to see what the central bank will do.

Euro area business confidence data is due at 10:00 a.m. GMT on Thursday; if gloomy, the data could add more pressure on the central bank to act.

In the U.K., investors will watch the Bank of England’s latest interest rate decision due at midday local time. The bank is not expected to adjust its benchmark rate from its current record low of 0.5 percent, however.

In the latest developments in the Paris terrorist attack at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police are still hunting the two brothers believed to have carried out the attack in which 12 people were killed. A third man, believed to be linked to the attack, has handed himself in to police.

 Varchev Traders

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