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European shares mixed despite ECB banks boost

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European shares are mixed in the mid-afternoon Thursday, despite a strong performance among bank stocks which gained a boost from comments indicating the ECB’s QE programme would be wound down this year.

By 1440 BST, the EUROSTOXX 600 was down 0.21% while the EUROSTOXX 50 rose 0.06%. Meanwhile, regional bourses were mainly lower. The German DAX was 0.23% in the red, the French CAC fell 0.15% although the Spanish IBEX was 0.37% higher.

ECB comments support bank stocks

European bank stocks are the main winners Thursday. They have gained ground as investors respond to comments that the June 14th ECB meeting will likely be the starting point for discussions over the end of the central bank’s bond-buying programme.

The euro zone economy has been improving for some time, providing the right backdrop to end the years long QE operation that has supported the region through a downturn and sluggish recovery.

In the meantime, bond yields have begun to rise in anticipation of higher ECB interest rates. When bond yields rise bank stocks typically become more popular is it bodes well for their future finances and profits.

Italian and Spanish banks led the banking stock gainers, which includes:

  • CaixaBank shares rose 3.96% to hit €3.84.
  • BPER Banca shares gained 0.94% to €4.19.
  • Banco BPM shares moved up 1.05% to €2.40.
  • Banco Santander shares were 0.13% higher at €4.78.
  • Bankia shares were 3.19% in the green at €3.40.

Other stock movers

Of course, European bank stocks aren’t the only moves of note Thursday.

Ryanair shares are trading lower in the wake of a ratings downgrade from Deutsche Bank who now sees the stock at ‘Hold’ with a price target of €17.20.

French drinks business Remy Cointreau shares are also in the red after reporting a 22% decline in its full year net profits. Remy Cointreau shares lost 5.33% to trade at €120.70.

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