European stocks break losing streak as ECB signals further market support

European stock markets snapped a six-day losing streak on Wednesday as the European Central Bank announced it was planning measures to deal with current market conditions.

All major indices in the region were green at market close, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 1.42%, London’s FTSE 100 up 1.20%, the Swiss Market Index up 0 .79%, the French CAC up 1.35% and the German DAX up 1.20%. 1.36%.

Although details are scarce, the Governing Council of the ECB held an ad hoc meeting on Wednesday to accelerate plans for a new anti-fragmentation instrument due to the “uneven transmission” of monetary policy normalization between the block members. It also plans to reinvest redemptions from its pandemic emergency purchase program more flexibly.

Meanwhile, two days after the UK introduced legislation to change parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the European Commission announced on Wednesday that it was launching two new infringement procedures. The first case launched in March is also progressing to a second stage where the UK will have to respond or risk facing the Court of Justice of the European Union.

“Let there be no doubt: there is no legal or political justification for unilaterally changing an international agreement. Opening the door to unilateral modification of an international agreement is also a violation of international law,” Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said in a statement.

In the data news, the euro zone’s trade deficit doubled on a monthly basis to 32.4 billion euros ($34 billion) in April, while seasonally adjusted industrial production edged up 0, 4%. ENI.MI, Switzerland further cut its FY22 GDP growth estimate and increased its inflation projections, due to lockdowns in China and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom (GAZP.ME) said it was further reducing gas flow from the Nord Stream pipeline due to repair work. Eni (ENI.MI) said Italy had seen a 15% reduction in total flows, while German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said deliveries had also fallen in the country, a decision which he said was a “political decision” for Russia and not justifiable.

At the close, Gazprom was down 0.47% in Moscow and Eni was in the green by 0.64%.

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Garland K. Long