Stocks in Europe seen higher as UK voters head to elections

Stocks in Europe may open flat to slightly higher on Thursday as new President Christine Lagarde chairs her first European Central Bank (ECB) meeting and the subsequent press conference later today.

Any hints on the economic outlook, inflation expectations and future policy decisions would be highly relevant for markets.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom votes today, with possible outcomes ranging from a landslide victory for Tories to a hung Parliament. Today’s election has been described by all parties as Britain’s most important in memory.

Asian markets are trading mixed after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, as widely expected, and indicated it would not tighten monetary policy prematurely.

Gold prices traded higher, the British pound strengthened and oil prices inched higher while the dollar index slipped after the Fed’s decision.

In economic releases, U.K. house prices declined at the fastest pace since April as uncertainties from Brexit and general election weighed on the property market, survey data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed earlier today. The house price balance fell to -12 in November from -5 in October.

U.S. stocks edged up marginally overnight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average crept up 0.1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.3 percent.

European markets also gained ground on Wednesday on speculation the Trump administration may delay additional tariffs on about $160 billion worth of Chinese goods slated for Sunday.

The pan European Stoxx 600 advanced 0.2 percent. The German DAX rose 0.6 percent, France’s CAC 40 index inched up 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE finished marginally higher.

Source: Nasdaq