European stock markets higher

New York, Oct 24 (AFP/APP): European stock markets were mostly higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) left its key borrowing rates unchanged — as expected — at its regular policy meeting.

Stock prices in London, Frankfurt and Paris all held on to their gains even after the ECB warned about the “downside risks” to the eurozone economy.

Wall Street stocks also finished mostly higher, with several prominent companies swinging significantly in both directions after issuing surprising reports.

In Frankfurt, at his final meeting after eight years in office as ECB president, Draghi warned about the “prolonged presence of uncertainties” weighing on economic activity.

Nevertheless, the ECB chose to hold its fire for now and not to lower borrowing rates any further, even if Draghi said that “an ample degree of monetary policy accommodation is still necessary.”

“As expected, Mario Draghi’s last meeting as ECB president did not bring any meaningful news in terms of monetary policy,” said UniCredit analyst Marco Valli.

“Draghi confirmed a downbeat economic assessment” and his successor Christine Lagarde “will inherit a monetary policy that is likely to be on autopilot for some time,” he said.

Among the other European markets, Helsinki was in the red as shares in Nokia plunged more than 20 percent after the Finnish telecommunications equipment maker posted a profit warning.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Wall Street was mixed amid optimism over US-China trade talks and as Tesla surged on positive earnings, while Twitter plunged on disappointing results.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines both surged at least four percent as both carriers reported higher earnings in spite of the hit from the prolonged grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

US stocks edge higher despite big Boeing hit

The companies signaled they expect to be reimbursed by Boeing for hundreds of millions of dollars in costs related to the troubles with the aircraft.

American also said it expects more shareholder paybacks in the coming years after concluding a multi-year investment initiative to renew its plane fleet.

The euro meanwhile dipped against the dollar following poorly-received eurozone manufacturing data.
The pound dropped versus the dollar and euro as traders waited to see by how long the European Union would decide to extend Brexit beyond the current October 31 deadline.

In commodities trading, oil prices were higher after running up strong gains of more than 2.5 percent Wednesday on data showing a slide in US energy stockpiles.

Tokyo stocks open higher with eyes on earnings

– Key figures around 2045 GMT –

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,805.53 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.2 percent at 3,010.29 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.8 percent at 8,185.80 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 7,328.25 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.6 percent at 12,872.10 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.6 percent at 5,684.33 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,621.37 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 22,750.60 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.9 percent at 26,797.95 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: FLAT at 2,940.92 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1101 from $1.1130 at 2100 GMT
Euro/pound: UP at 86.41 pence from 86.20 pence
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2846 from $1.2912
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.66 yen from 108.69 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $61.67 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.5 percent at $56.23 per barrel

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