Europe open: Stocks fall ahead of ECB and BoE policy meetings|
European stocks declined as investors waited on the latest policy announcements from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE).
The BoE is expected to keep its policy on hold, maintaining its benchmark interest rate at 0.50% and asset purchases at £375bn.
The Bank has vowed that it will not consider raising the rate until employment reaches at least 7%.
Despite a faster-than-expected pick up in the labour market and wider economy, BoE Governor Mark Carney has stressed that the central bank will not necessarily raise interest rates once the jobless rate falls to its target.
The ECB is also expected to maintain its policy by holding interest rates at 0.25%.
The central bank last month surprised the market by lowering its rate from 0.50% due to deflation fears. Inflation is running at 0.9%, far below the ECB’s target of just under 2%.
ECB President Mario Draghi said the Eurozone "may experience a prolonged period of low inflation" and that the central bank was ready to consider using all available policy tools.
Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement will be released today and is anticipated to include a sooner-than-expected increase in the state pension age.
Osborne is also expected to announce a number of changes to spending and taxes and may address unpopular topics like rises in energy bills.
“Chancellor George Osborne is likely to first use today as an opportunity to laud the performance of the UK economy at the moment, while warning that more needs to be done to protect the recovery going forward,” according to Alpari analyst Craig Erlam.
“In terms of market reaction to the autumn statement, there probably won't be much of one, unless Osborne announces something significant that the markets are not expecting. We may see some volatility in sterling, for example, during the statement but I don't envisage any significant moves.”
Meanwhile in the US later today will be the release a batch of US data including consumer confidence, initial jobless claims, continuing claims and GDP figures.
Federal Reserve policymakers are turning to economic indicators to gauge whether the economy has picked up enough to start scaling back monetary stimulus. The Fed next meets mid-December when it may announce a tapering of quantitative easing.
Vienna Insurance, FLSmidth
Vienna Insurance Group AG dropped as an undisclosed seller offered 2.29m shares in the company.
FLSmidth & Co. A/S slumped as the Danish mining-equipment maker lowered its forecast earnings margin.
Old Mutual retreated as it announced it was one step closer to completing the acquisition of a majority stake in micro-lender company Faulu Kenya after receiving regulatory approvals.
Other asset classes advance
The euro rose 0.13% to $1.3610.
Brent crude futures increased $0.089 to $111.980 per barrel, according to ICE data.