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Euro stocks slip to seven-month low

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THE euro slipped towards seven-month lows, bond yields fell and European shares rallied on last week on growing talk of aggressive stimulus from the European Central Bank this week.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index settled 0.9 per cent higher, adding to Wednesday’s 1.4 per cent gain, while the Euro STOXX 50 index added 1.1 per cent.

Canada’s main stock index rose 0.25 per cent, led by gains for its heavyweight financial sector and some of its biggest miners. Wall Street was closed for Thanksgiving, a day after shares closed flat in a pre-holiday lull.

Overnight, Asian stocks closed modestly higher. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 per cent.

“Expectations surrounding the ECB are running very high and this is driving European markets higher, weakening the euro and helping them do better than U.S. stocks,” said Marco Vailati, head of research and investment at Italy’s Cassa Lombarda.

“I think and hope the ECB will not disappoint but I realise that it won’t be that easy,” he said.

Euro zone central bank officials are considering options such as staggered charges on banks hoarding cash and buying more debt ahead of next week’s ECB meeting, according to reports.

That fueled talk that the central bank is preparing aggressive measures to lift inflation and economic growth in the 19-member euro zone.


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