European Stocks Pare Gain on Report That ECB Discussed Rate Rise

European Stocks Move Higher for a Third Day

European stocks trimmed earlier gains, trading little changed after people familiar with the matter said the European Central Bank discussed whether interest rates can rise before its bond-buying program comes to an end.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added less than 0.1 percent at 4:11 p.m. in London, paring its weekly drop to 0.6 percent. The benchmark yesterday erased an intraday drop after ECB President Mario Draghi said downside risks to the euro-area economy were less pronounced.

  • ECB Governing Council members meeting on March 9 exchanged views on ways of communicating and sequencing an exit from unconventional stimulus, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • The Dutch AEX Index rose above its 2015 closing high and headed for its highest level since December 2007.
  • BT Group Plc rose 3.8 percent after it agreed to legally split off its Openreach network division into a separate entity as demanded by Britain’s telecommunications regulator.
  • Akzo Nobel NV rose 4.6 percent after Het Financieele Dagblad reported PPG Industries is preparing a second bid for the coatings maker.
  • Energy shares led Stoxx 600 gains after dropping for four straight sessions.
  • BNP Paribas SA strategists say European equities could outperform the U.S. “Euro-zone equities have outperformed U.S. equities over the past two weeks, since our ‘Love Panic’ model suggested that investors are pricing excessive optimism for U.S. equities and pessimism for euro-zone equities,” the firm’s equity and derivatives strategists wrote in a note.
  • Futures traders are betting that an increase in interest rates at next week’s Federal Reserve meeting is a virtual certainty.
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