(Sharecast News) – European stock markets opened mixed on Thursday as investors took a breather after three straight days of gains.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was trading 0.06% lower at 454.24, having risen 2.5% so far this week.
Indices in London and Paris were flat early on, offsetting gains in Frankfurt, Milan and Madrid.
Global equity markets have performed well over recent sessions after bigger-than-expected drops in both UK and US inflation reignited hopes that central bankers would refrain from further rate hikes as price pressures begin to ease. Improving data from China and hopes of further stimulus for the country’s struggling housing sector have also helped sentiment.
“Financial markets are currently anticipating first rate cuts by the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank around the middle of next year,” said analyst Patrick Munnelly of Tickmill Group.
“It remains to be seen whether there will be any pushback against these expectations, as central banks have not definitively ruled out further tightening.”
The economic data calendar for Thursday looks relatively light, with no major releases due in the UK and eurozone, and only jobless claims scheduled in the US.
However, several central bank policymakers are scheduled to make speeches, including members of the ECB, Fed and BoE, and so markets will keep a close eye on any comments to do with future monetary policy.
In company news, industrial giant Siemens saw shares surge 5% after reporting record fourth-quarter revenues of €21.4bn, ahead of forecasts. However, the Germany conglomerate did warn that sales growth would slow to just 4-8% in the current financial year, down from 11% this year.
In London, Burberry dropped 9% after the British high-end fashion giant warned that the slowdown in luxury demand is having an impact on current trading and could affect full-year sales, as it reported a huge deceleration in sales growth in the first half. Comparable store sales rose 10% in the six-month period, with 18% growth in the first quarter slowing to just 1% in the second.