European Stocks Freeze Near 6-year High Ahead Of ECB

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - European stocks were narrowly mixed on Wednesday as traders moved to the sidelines ahead of a crucial monetary policy announcement from the European Central Bank.

Markets worldwide will be watching tomorrow when the ECB decides on how much stimulus it will offer in an effort to combat deflation and spark the sluggish euro zone economy.

A second estimate from Eurostat showed that gross domestic product in the 18-nation currency bloc grew 0.2 percent sequentially, slower than the revised 0.3 percent expansion posted in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Producer prices in the euro area fell at a slower pace in April, in line with economists' expectations, figures from Eurostat showed. Meanwhile, private sector growth slowed more than initially estimated in May, final data from Markit Economics revealed.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks lost 0.07 percent, having seen little movement all week after touching a 6-year peak.

The German DAX rose 0.06 percent, the French CAC 40 eased 0.04 percent and the UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.31 percent. Switzerland's SMI was virtually unchanged.

Volkswagen is planning a sale of 2 billion euros of preferential shares. The stock was marginally lower.

Deutsche Bank was fractionally higher. Goldman Sachs raised the stock to ''Neutral'' from 'Sell.''

Smith & Nephew jumped 3.3 percent. JPMorgan resumed the stock with a ''Neutral'' rating.

Rigid plastic packaging products maker RPC Group, which reported higher full year profit, gained 4.2 percent.

Swiss duty-free stores operator Dufry is gaining 8.2 percent on the SIX Swiss Exchange, after announcing the purchase of the Nuance group in a $1.7 billion deal.

Coloplast A/S rose 3.5 percent after projecting annual growth of as much as 10 percent in revenue excluding acquisitions for the next three to five years.

In economic news from the U.S., private sector employment rose by 179,000 jobs in May following a downwardly revised increase of 215,000 jobs in April, payroll process ADP's report showed. Economists had been expecting an increase of about 210,000 jobs compared to the addition of 220,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

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This article appears in: News Headlines

Referenced Stocks: DB , GS , JPM , SNN

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