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European Indexes Falling as Investors Await ECB Press Conference

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European indexes fall as the ECB keeps its minimum bid rate unchanged

European indexes (DBEU) were trading with a slight positive bias this morning after an announcement from the European Central Bank or ECB about its decision to keep rates unchanged at 8:30 AM EST. European indexes (HEDJ) were mostly trading lower while the Spanish index IBEX was an outlier. It rose 0.40%. The German DAX fell 0.22% after the announcement.

The SPDR Euro Stoxx 50 ETF (FEZ) fell 0.16% as of 9:00 AM today. The French CAC 40 was also trading 0.46% lower.

Among other major European indexes (IEV), the crude-related economy of Russia (RSX) was also trading on a negative note. Crude futures (USO) were trading near flat. The Russian MICEX fell 0.90%.

The major non-Eurozone markets were also on a negative bias. The United Kingdom’s (FKU) FTSE 100 and Sweden’s (EWD) OMX Stockholm 30 fell 0.61% and 0.73%, respectively.

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UK retail sales disappoint

The Office of National Statistics published its retail sales for March on April 21. Month-over-month retail sales fell 1.3% against forecasts of a rise of 0.2%. Year-over-year retail sales rose 2.7%, which was below the forecast rise of 3.5%. Looking at the major sectors, we saw an increase in sales across the board except for textiles, clothing, and footwear. While the largest increase in sales was in fuel, which rose 10.1%, in terms of value, it still fell 0.4%.

Central banks keep rates unchanged

The Swedish Central bank and the European Central Bank announced their interest rate decisions on April 21. Both banks kept rates unchanged—the ECB at 0.0% and the Swedish Central Bank at 0.5%. Investors will now focus on the ECB press conference, where the ECB chief is expected to share his views on the economy.

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