European stocks were flat to slightly lower on Thursday as investors geared up for the European Central Bank meeting and awaited the release of U.S. inflation data for clues as to when the Federal Reserve might tighten its dovish monetary policy.
The outcome of the governing council meeting of the ECB is due at 7.45 am ET. After the meeting, ECB Chief Christine Lagarde holds the press conference in Frankfurt at 8.30 am ET.
The U.S. Labor Department is scheduled to publish its consumer price index data at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The pan European Stoxx 600 was marginally lower at 454.11, snapping a four-day winning streak. France’s CAC 40 index dropped 0.2 percent, while the German DAX traded flat with a positive bias and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent.
Automakers led losses, with BMW and Volkswagen falling over 1 percent.
Shares of French digital music company Believe were moving lower on the first day of trading.
Energy stocks fell as oil prices eased on data showing an increase in U.S. gasoline and diesel supplies. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell both dropped around half a percent while Total SE gave up 1 percent.
BT Group shares jumped 3.2 percent after U.S. firm Altice Group said it had taken a 12.1 percent stake worth about 2.2 billion pounds in the U.K.’s largest broadband and mobile operator.
Vehicle marketplace Auto Trader surged 6.7 percent. The company gave an upbeat outlook after a tough year.
In economic releases, U.K. house prices continued to increase in May driven by robust demand and shortfall of new instructions, survey results from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed.
The house price balance rose to 83 percent in May from 76 percent in April. This was the fourth successive month in which upward pressure on house price seemingly intensified.
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