European Shares Set For Cautious Start Ahead Of ECB Decision

European stocks are seen opening slightly lower on Thursday as the region anxiously awaits the return of Russian gas supplies after a 10-day halt for annual maintenance.

Reuters reported citing sources that flows were likely to restart at pre-maintenance levels of 40 percent of the pipeline’s capacity.

Saying that a full cut-off of Russian gas supplies to Europe was “a likely scenario,” the European Commission on Wednesday proposed a voluntary target for member states to cut gas us by 15 percent until March.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is seen raising interest rates for the first time in 11 years at today’s meeting of the governing council.

A bigger-than-expected 50-bps rate hike might support the euro that has slipped below $1 this month.

Asian stocks traded mixed, with Chinese and Hong Kong markets retreating on lingering concerns around China’s zero-COVID policy and real estate crisis.

The Asian Development Bank has slashed its economic forecasts for developing Asia for this year and next, citing deteriorating conditions due to China’s “zero COVID” lockdowns, rising interest rates in developed economies and the war in Ukraine.

The Japanese yen held firm after the Bank of Japan maintained ultra-low interest rates and raised its inflation forecast.

Gold edged lower amid dollar strength, while oil extended losses on concerns about the outlook for gasoline demand in the United States during the summer driving season.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as earnings of more companies came on expected lines, helping offset signs of a slowdown in the housing market.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.6 percent after a positive forecast from Netflix, while the S&P gained 0.6 percent and the Dow edged up 0.2 percent.

European stocks snapped a three-day winning streak on Wednesday as Italy faced its worst political crisis and the EU announced precautionary measures in the face of reduced Russian gas supplies.

The pan European Stoxx 600 dipped 0.2 percent. The German DAX slipped 0.2 percent, France’s CAC 40 index dropped 0.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 eased 0.4 percent.

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