European stocks little changed, ECB statement supports; Dax down 0.01%

Shutterstock photo - - European stocks were little changed on Friday, as news of fresh measures by the European Central Bank, including a 0.10% rate cut, continued to lend support to European equity markets.

During European morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 eased 0.03%, France's CAC 40 slipped 0.13%, while Germany's DAX dipped 0.01%.

European equities strengthened on Thursday after ECB President Mario Draghi said that the bank is prepared to act swiftly with further monetary easing measures, including asset-backed security purchases, in case of a prolonged period of low inflation.

Speaking at the ECB's post-policy meeting press conference, Draghi also said that the central bank we will be conducting a series of Targeted Longer Term Refinancing Operations (TLTROs), to support bank lending.

The comments came after the ECB lowered its benchmark interest rate to a record-low 0.15% from 0.25%, compared to expectations for a cut to 0.1%.

The central bank also cut its marginal lending to 0.40% from 0.75% and lowered its deposit facility rate to -0.10% from 0.0%.

Financial stocks were mixed, as Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) jumped 1.50% and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) declined 0.70% in France, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) plummeted 4.41%.

BNP was hit amid reports New York's top banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky is pressing the French lender to dismiss one of its top executives as part of settlement negotiations with the U.S. over alleged sanctions violations.

Among peripheral lenders however, Spanish banks BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) climbed 0.51% and 1.05% respectively, while Italy's Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) gained 0.94% and 1.16%.

In London, FTSE 100 rose 0.22%, supported by gains in the financial sector.

Shares in HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) edged up 0.17% and Barclays (LONDON:BARC) gained 0.50%, while Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) advanced 0.86% and 0.98% respectively.

Bloomberg reported earlier that an appeal court judge ruled on Friday that a Royal Bank of Scotland unit is liable for investment losses on securities bought by Australian towns, upholding a 2012 verdict the U.K. lender misled investors.

Mining stocks were also broadly higher, as Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) added 0.24% and Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) rose 0.34%, while Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) gained 0.29% and Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) edged up 0.17%.

Meanwhile, Smith & Nephew (LONDON:SN) led losses on the index, with shares down 0.87%, a day after Medtronic said it is considering a takeover of the U.K. maker of medical devices.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a moderately higher open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.14% rise, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.05% uptick, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.07% gain.

Also Friday, official data showed that Germany's trade surplus widened to €17.7 billion in April, from €15.0 billion in March, whose figure was revised up from a previously estimated surplus of €14.8 billion. Analysts had expected the trade surplus to widen to €15.2 billion in April. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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