European Shares Hold Steady Before ECB Meeting

European stocks held steady on Thursday to hover near six-week highs amid easing trade tensions and expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) will kick off another wave of monetary easing.

The interest-rate announcement is due at 7.45 am ET. President Mario Draghi will hold his customary press conference at 8.30 am ET.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced a short delay to scheduled tariff hikes on billions worth of Chinese goods after China decided to exempt some U.S. anti-cancer drugs and other goods from its tariffs.

Brexit also remained in focus, with British Premier Boris Johnson facing calls to reverse his suspension of parliament after a Scottish court ruled it illegal.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down 0.1 percent at 389.36, giving up early gains.

The German DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 held steady while France’s CAC 40 index was moving up 0.4 percent.

Anheuser-Busch InBev rallied 2.5 percent. The company said it is continuing to explore an initial public offering in Hong Kong of its Asia Pacific unit, Budweiser Brewing Company APAC.

German specialty chemicals maker Wacker Chemie was moving lower after it acquired a stake in Nexeon, a U.K. headquartered battery material and licensing company.

Miners Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore climbed 1-2 percent on hopes of a breakthrough in negotiations between the world’s two largest economies.

Tobacco giant BAT rallied 2 percent on news it would lay off 2,300 employees globally by January.

Morrisons jumped 3.4 percent. The grocer said it had seen “robust progress” in sales and profit in its first half.

Inkjet printer components specialist XAAR surged 19 percent after it agreed to sell 20 percent of its holding in Xaar 3D to U.S. company Stratasys for $10 million.

In economic releases, Eurozone’s industrial production continued to decline in July, albeit at a slower pace compared to the previous month, preliminary figures from Eurostat showed.

Industrial production dropped 2 percent year-on-year following a 2.4 percent slump in June, which was revised from 2.6 percent. Economists had forecast a 1.3 percent decrease.

The latest fall was led mainly by the declines in the production of intermediate goods and capital goods.

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