European stocks jump as ECB launches new stimulus plan
European stocks rallied after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced a massive new bond-buying program Thursday in a bid to stimulate the ailing euro zone economy.
The central bank’s quantitative easing program will entail 20 billion euros per month of asset purchases for as long as it deems necessary. President Mario Draghi also announced that the central bank would cut its main deposit rate by 10 basis points to -0.5%, in line with expectations.
Stocks had received a boost Wednesday after President Donald Trump announced a two-week delay to the increased tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports expected on October 1. Trump said pushing the imposition of the duties back to October 15 was intended as a “gesture of good will” as the world’s two largest economies continue a two-year long trade war.
Back in Europe, Brexit remains in focus despite the suspension of the U.K. Parliament. The British government bowed to pressure to publish its plans for a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday night, revealing warnings of severe disruption to cross-Channel routes which would impact the supply of medicines and certain types of fresh foods.
The “Operation Yellowhammer” paper also anticipates protests and counter-protests, and a possible rise in public disorder.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday reiterated his pledge to ditch the controversial Irish “backstop” from the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May. European leaders have previously said the mechanism, which relates to maintaining a seamless border on the island of Ireland, is non-negotiable.
In corporate news, Britain’s Finance Ministry has said it will scrutinize a $36.6 billion takeover offer from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing for the London Stock Exchange, while Italian leaders have also vowed to monitor the deal closely to ensure Italy’s stock exchange is protected should the deal go through.
Stocks on the move
Shares of WM Morrison rose by 4.3% in early trade after the British supermarket chain announced a 49% rise in first half pretax profit and an extension to its partnership with Amazon.
French oil storage and distribution company Rubis saw its shares rise 4.2% after beating its first half earnings consensus.
AB InBev climbed 2.7% after confirming that it is continuing to explore an IPO for its Asia Pacific business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
At the bottom of the Stoxx 600, Finnish retailer Kesko slid 5.4% while Alstom shares fell 4.7% after Bouygues confirmed it had sold 13% of its stake in the French rail company.