EU: The monetary policy meeting of the European Central Bank will take place in Frankfurt. The rising cost of living is expected to dominate the meeting, but most economists expect the bank to stick to its timetable of keeping interest rates unchanged while steadily reducing asset purchases in course this year. Consumer prices in the euro zone rose by a record 5.1% in January.
UK: The UK’s Bank of England will also make its interest rate decision. BoE Governor Andrew Bailey is expected to announce a rate hike of 0.25% to 0.5%. If this continues, it would be the first consecutive interest rate hike since 2004.
GPA: IHS Markit releases PMI data for services from the Eurozone, France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Last week, eurozone services firms reported that tighter coronavirus restrictions had weighed on demand – particularly in the consumer and hospitality sectors – while staff absenteeism due to Covid-19 infections were also limiting activity.
Infineon Technologies: Europe’s largest chipmaker reports third-quarter results on Thursday. Infineon nearly doubled its profits in the three months to late September as the German group benefited from demand for semiconductors amid global bottlenecks. The Munich-based company said profit for the period was a record 464 million euros, down from 245 million euros in the previous quarter.
BT: The British telecommunications company also publishes its results for the third quarter. BT recorded a 3% drop in revenue to £10.3bn in the six months to the end of September and a 5% drop in pre-tax profit to £1bn as its divisions business services and multinationals declined.
Markets: Euro Stoxx 50 and FTSE 100 futures were down 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, after a mixed day for Asia-Pacific equities in which Australian and Japanese fell and South Korean stocks rose. In the United States on Wednesday, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.9% and 0.5% respectively, but some companies, including Facebook’s parent company Meta, suffered heavy losses as the After-hours earnings releases disappointed investors.