Stocks rise on upbeat ECB comments and US tech rally

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·2 min read
A screen displays the CAC 40 amongst stock tickers displayed at the headquarters of the Pan-European stock exchange Euronext, in La Defense district, near Paris, on March 9, 2020. - The Paris and Frankfurt stock exchanges fell more than 10 percent on March 12 afternoon trading after the European Central Bank unveiled a series of measures to shore up the eurozone economy but did not cut rates. The CAC 40 was down 10.2 percent to 4142.13 around 1340 GMT, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt had tumbled 10.3 percent to 9,360.58. (Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC PIERMONT/AFP via Getty Images)
The CAC 40 index in March, when global stocks tumbled because of the pandemic. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images

European stocks rose in a choppy trading session on Thursday, boosted by a rebound in US tech stocks and upbeat comments from the European Central Bank (ECB).

Stocks in Europe had been treading water in early trading, dipped and then began edging higher shortly as the ECB made a statement following its latest monetary policy meeting on Thursday afternoon.

The Europe-wide Stoxx 50 index (^STOXX50E) was up 0.3% in mid-afternoon trading, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) and Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) were both up 0.4%. The euro also rose further (EURUSD=X) against the dollar.

In Britain the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was up 0.2%, having slid 0.8% earlier in the day.

READ MORE: Euro surges as ECB expresses confidence in recovery

It came as stocks powered higher on Wall Street, continuing Wednesday’s rally despite higher unemployment insurance claims after three days of losses.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Dow Jones (^DJI) were up 0.7% at around 10am, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) rose 1.3%. The Nasdaq had finished 2.7% higher a day earlier, rebounding from a sell-off in tech shares.

Comments by the ECB’s president Christine Lagarde on Thursday also boosted European investors’ moods. She said the rebound had been strong in European economies, and said the ECB revised up inflation forecasts for 2021.

But the ECB did not extend its stimulus measures, leaving rates and bond-buying plans unchanged. Lagarde also highlighted slowing momentum in the services sector, and the “headwinds” of rising coronavirus infection rates.

It comes ahead of an announcement later on Thursday by policymakers at the European Central Bank (ECB), which will be followed by a press conference by its president Christine Lagarde. They are widely expected to keep policy unchanged, however.

READ MORE: Pound hits six-week low as UK unveils controversial Brexit bill

Asian markets had been mixed overnight. Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) fell by 0.6%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (^HSI) was flat.

Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) and the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea both rose 0.9%.