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European Central Bank keeps interest rates, guidance unchanged

European Central Bank leaves interest rate unchanged, despite slowing of EU economic growth

Policymakers will need to agree an end-date for the ECB's €2.55 trillion bond purchase programme, which has cut borrowing costs and kick-started growth, even if it has failed to lift inflation back to target.

European equities were up 0.4 percent ahead of Mario Draghi's 1230 GMT news conference and as MSCI's most widely-followed gauge of world stocks pulled out of its longest losing streak of the year so far. The currency is up 1.5 per cent against the dollar this year and just 0.3 per cent higher on a trade-weighted basis.

Asia also rose overnight as record quarterly profits from Samsung helped offset nerves in China after reports that USA prosecutors have been investigating whether Chinese tech giant Huawei violated Iran sanctions.

"This moderation may in part reflect a pull-back from the high pace of growth observed at the end of previous year, while temporary factors may also be at work", he said.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Dow Jones benchmark snapped a five-day losing streak thanks to more strong corporate earnings.

"The worry is about an overheating, leading to a rise in inflation, higher interest rates which bring on a textbook recession".

The president also suggested that the focus of the European Central Bank governing council was on the most recent data rather than revising current forward guidance on monetary policy.

SpaceX Launches Planet-Hunting Satellite from Cape Canaveral
The planned launch of TESS comes on the heels of NASA delaying the liftoff of its hotly-anticipated James Webb Space Telescope . More than 78% of the around 3,700 exoplanets that we have discovered have been found by using this method, according to NASA.

The ECB is expected to keep policy unchanged, which may ease concerns over recent softness in the euro zone economy and allow the possibility of ending its excessive bond buying scheme by the end of 2018.

Following a meeting of the ECB's governing council, the Eurozone's central bank revealed that interest rates on refinancing and on lending would remain unchanged at 0 per cent and 0.25 per cent respectively.

Credit Agricole strategist Orlando Green said: "The risk is that he (Draghi) is less dovish than expected".

The US 2-year bond yield also dropped 0.3 percent to 2.480. This could send the euro lower.

Analyst Teppei Ino said the currency might soon test some key technical levels close to 110, and one level is 109.65, which is a 50 percent retracement of its November to March fall, while the other is its 200-day moving average near 110.27.

"With equity market sentiment holding firm in the face of rising bond yields, the almighty dollar could move through G-10 currency markets like a wrecking ball", Innes added.

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