European stocks were down slightly on Thursday, despite gains in Asian, after the European Central Bank left its interest rates on hold as it monitors the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 was down 0.4 percent at 4,362 while Germany’s DAX was 0.1 percent lower at 10,133. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent to 6,698. U.S. shares were also set to drift slightly lower with Dow and S&P 500 futures both down 0.1 percent.
EUROPE POST-BREXIT: Investors are watching for a news conference by the European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi, to see what he might do to shore up regional growth. The bank earlier left its key rates on hold at record lows at its first meeting since the U.K. vote. Draghi could indicate a willingness to extend the duration of the ECB’s bond-buying stimulus program.
ANALYST QUOTE: “Mario Draghi’s speech is hotly anticipated by investors as they look for clues and guidance on what measures the central bank will take post Brexit to navigate through uncertainty,” said Alex Wijaya, senior sales trader at CMC Markets.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.8 percent to finish at 16,810.22. South Korea’s Kospi slipped nearly 0.2 percent to 2,012.22. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.6 percent to 22,004.63. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.4 percent to 3,039.01.
JAPAN STIMULUS: Japanese media reported the government may be considering a 20 trillion yen ($186 billion) fiscal stimulus package. That sent Japan’s benchmark and the U.S. dollar higher against the yen. A cheap yen is a plus for Japan’s giant exporters.
U.S. COMPANIES: Technology stocks finished higher on Wall Street, following an encouraging report from Microsoft that said momentum in its cloud-computing business helped it to return to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter.
ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil rose 20 cents to $44.85 per barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 29 cents to $46.88 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The euro rose slightly to $1.1018 from $1.1015, while the dollar rose to 106.15 yen from 106.01 yen.