Equity indices were today trading in anticipation of the much anticipated European Central Bank meeting tomorrow. Whilst interest rates are not expected to be lowered, much focus is being placed on Mario Draghi’s press conference, from which market participants are hoping for further evidence of monetary action. Having built up in anticipation of the event, there was some weakness today ahead of it, with investors seemingly paring their expectations for action.
News out in the afternoon suggested that Mr Draghi’s action will include unlimited bond buying. To appease those hawks particularly in Germany who are concerned about inflation, it was suggested by two ECB officials that the purchases would be sterilised, i.e. paid for by the sale of other assets elsewhere, not increasing the money supply (i.e. not printing money). The euro jumped around half a percent on the news, a position it maintained throughout the day. European equities were modestly in positive territory, although the UK’s FTSE 100 index closed down 0.25% at 5657. This could be partly attributed to a number of companies going ex-dividend today, with share price falls usually commensurate with the size of the dividend that has just been missed.
ITV was the biggest riser of the UK blue-chip, closing up 3.5% to 85p following news that the UK government is to increase advertising expenditure by 70% this financial year, some of which should flow to the company. Despite government only account for 1% of ITV’s advertising revenue, investors reacted well to the news.