DJIA: 16,102.38  -272.38 (-1.66%) | NASDAQ: 4,683.918  -49.578 (-1.05%) | S&P 500: 1,921.22  -29.91 (-1.53%) Markets status unavailable

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    * ECB press conference awaited for any verbal intervention. * Swedish crown rallies after Riksbank keep rates unchanged. By Anirban Nag. The euro steadied on Thursday, having rallied 1.5 percent on a trade-weighted basis since China devalued the yuan last month, with the focus on whether the rise could prompt the European Central Bank to sharpen its language and talk it down.

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    The European Central Bank, as expected, made no changes to official interest rates on Thursday. The ECB's Governing Council left the refi rate at 0.05% and maintained the rate on deposits parked overnight at the bank at negative 0.2%. ECB President Mario Draghi's news conference at 2:30 p.m. Frankfurt time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern, to see if the central bank is prepared to ramp up its quantitative-easing program in the wake of turmoil in financial markets, concerns about China, and...

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    Euro zone yields edged lower ahead of an ECB meeting later on Thursday where the central bank is expected to cut its inflation forecasts and promise to beef up its bond-buying programme. Slower growth in China and falling oil prices have shaken financial markets over the last month, dampening the outlook for consumer prices which could push the currency bloc back into a deflationary spiral.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 gains 1.5 percent. * ECB meeting expected to strike dovish tone. * EasyJet surges on positive profit outlook. By Atul Prakash. European shares rose sharply on Thursday, tracking strong gains on Wall Street and ahead of a European Central Bank meeting that investors expect will deliver a boost to markets following recent turmoil.

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    Sweden's central bank defied analysts' expectations and held interest rates steady, while the European Central Bank's announcement for eurozone interest rates and quantitative easing is expected at 7:45 a.m. EDT.

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    By Kosaku Narioka and Jake Maxwell Watts. Asian markets closed mostly higher on Thursday, led by a strong performance in Japanese stocks after U.S. markets restored some stability to a region rocked by volatility. Japan's Nikkei rose 0.5% to 18,182.39, helped by a weaker yen throughout most of the session.

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    Emerging equities inched off one-week lows on Thursday, snapping a three-day losing streak as volatile Chinese markets were shut and Asian tech stocks gained. MSCI's emerging equity index rose 0.26 percent, with a 2 percent Wednesday rally on Wall Street improving overall equity sentiment.

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    Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt rose in early trade on Thursday, tracking global bourses as oil prices, which had moved Middle Eastern equities earlier in the week, were relatively stable. The main Saudi equity index gained 0.7 percent with most stocks positive. National Commercial Bank, the kingdom's largest lender, jumped 2.0 percent and Al Rajhi, another large bank, was up 0.7 percent.

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    * ECB holds rates, Draghi expected to strike dovish tone. * U.S. jobs data due on Friday. * IMF urges accommodative policy. By Jamie McGeever. World stocks rose on Thursday and the dollar held steady as cautious investors awaited new growth and inflation forecasts from the European Central Bank later in the day and U.S. jobs data on Friday.

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    * Trust banks bought highest value of Japan stocks since March 2009. * Foreigners sold highest value in cash Japan stocks since March 2014. By Ayai Tomisawa. Net selling of Japanese cash and futures stocks by foreign investors during last week hit a record high as buyers shunned riskier assets on worries that a China-led slowdown could hurt global growth.

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    * FTSEurofirst 300 gains 1.5 percent. * EasyJet surges on positive profit outlook. * Focus on ECB's policy meeting. By Atul Prakash. European shares rose sharply on Thursday, tracking strong gains on Wall Street and ahead of a European Central Bank meeting that investors expect will deliver a boost to markets following recent turmoil.

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    * ECB policy meeting awaited for any verbal intervention. * Swedish crown rallies after Riksbank keep rates unchanged. By Anirban Nag. The euro steadied on Thursday, having rallied 1.5 percent on a trade-weighted basis since China devalued the yuan last month, with the focus on whether the rise could prompt the European Central Bank to try to talk it down.

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    The Shanghai and Hong Kong stock markets are closed Thursday and Friday as China commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. That is probably welcome news for investors around the world in the wake of a global equities selloff sparked by weak Chinese economic data. Opinion: How China turned a technical currency issue into a global rout.

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    European shares advanced in early trading on Thursday, tracking strong gains on Wall Street, ahead of a European Central Bank meeting that investors expect will deliver a dovish boost to markets following recent turmoil. British low-cost airline easyJet was the top gainer across Europe, jumping 6.7 percent after raising its full-year profit outlook.

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    Japanese stocks rose on Thursday as bargain hunters picked up shares which have been battered for weeks by fears of a China-led global slowdown. Overnight gains on Wall Street and a market holiday in China also helped support sentiment, but volatility remained high, suggesting investors remain on edge.

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    European shares headed for a higher open on Thursday, tracking strong gains on Wall Street, with investors focusing on a meeting of the European Central Bank later in the day and U.S. jobs data on Friday for hints about the market's near-term direction.

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    Britain's FTSE 100 index is seen opening 49 to 52 points higher, or 0.9 percent, on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers. * The UK blue chip index closed 24.77 points higher at 6,083.31 points on Wednesday.

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    Financial spreadbetters predicted Britain's FTSE 100 to open 49 to 52 points higher, or up as much as 0.9 percent, Germany's DAX to gain 86 to 92 points, or as much as 0.9 percent, and France's CAC 40 to rise 34 to 37 points, or as much as 0.8 percent, on Thursday.

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    Japanese government bond yields hit a three-week high on Thursday as Tokyo stocks rallied and reduced the appeal of safe-haven debt, while overnight losses by U.S. Treasuries also weighed on the market. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield touched 0.405 percent, highest since Aug. 11.

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    * Dollar rebounds vs euro and yen as stocks gain globally. * China markets closed, ECB policy meeting awaited for cues. * Loonie sags before Canada trade data. * Aussie near 6-1/2 year low after weak retail sales data. By Shinichi Saoshiro.