Morning Chronicle - Eurozone stocks rise, euro slides as ECB holds fire

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Eurozone stocks rise, euro slides as ECB holds fire
Eurozone stocks rise, euro slides as ECB holds fire / Photo: Tomas CUESTA - AFP/File

Eurozone stocks rise, euro slides as ECB holds fire

Eurozone stock markets rose Thursday while the euro slid as the European Central Bank remained vague about when it will raise interest rates in the face of soaring inflation.

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Meanwhile oil prices, whose recent surge has contributed to inflation around the globe reaching the highest levels in decades, came off the boil.

The ECB stood still in the face of record inflation, keeping its stimulus plans and rates unchanged, as the war in Ukraine cast a pall over the eurozone economy.

Meeting for the second time since the outbreak of the conflict, the bank's 25-member governing council stuck to a plan that "should" see its bond-buying scheme come to an end in the third quarter.

An interest rate hike would follow "some time" after the stimulus programme comes to an end, and any increases "will be gradual".

The decision leaves the ECB further out of step with many of its peers. Central banks such as the Bank of England, US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada have already triggered their first interest rate rises in response to soaring inflation.

Prices were already soaring in major economies when Russia's invasion in late February sent shockwaves through the global energy, food and commodity markets.

Data this week from the United States -- the world's biggest economy -- showed inflation at a level not seen in 40 years.

The euro took a knock after the ECB's decision, losing ground against the dollar and pound.

However, eurozone stocks rose, with Frankfurt and Paris both rising 0.8 percent in afternoon trading.

Wall Street opened higher although another major bank reported a big fall in profits and set aside money due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Citigroup said its first quarter profits tumbled 46 percent to $4.3 billion, in a similar performance to JPMorgan Chase which reported Wednesday a sharp drop in profits and warned of downside risks from the Ukraine war and surging inflation.

Citigroup said it set aside $1.9 billion in reserves due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Elsewhere on the corporate front, Tesla chief Elon Musk launched a hostile takeover bid for Twitter, offering to buy 100 percent of its stock and take it private, according to a stock exchange filing.

Musk offered $54.20 a share, but the company's share price only rose by around 2.4 percent to $46.90 after 10 minutes of trading.

Despite falling Thursday, both main oil contracts stayed firmly above the $100 per barrel mark, with fears swirling about global supply constraints over the invasion of Ukraine by Russia -- a major producer of oil and gas.

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.8 percent at 14,185.2 points

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 6,594.80

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 3,785.59

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,619.60

New York - Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 34,735.73

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 percent at 27,172.00 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 21,518.08 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,225.64 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.3 percent at 107.44 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.5 percent at 102.80 per barrel

Euro/dollar - DOWN at $1.0829 from $1.0894 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar - DOWN at $1.3085 from $1.3109

Euro/pound - DOWN at 82.78 pence from 83.03 pence

Dollar/yen - DOWN at 125.53 from 125.59