UPDATE 1-European Factors to Watch-Equity futures flat with ECB in focus

jueves 3 de abril de 2014 02:33 GYT

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LONDON, April 3 (Reuters) - European equity futures were flat on Thursday, with many investors holding fire to see whether the European Central Bank (ECB), due to announce its rate decision later in the day, would give more signs it is ready to fight pressures weighing on the euro zone.

The euro zone's Euro STOXX 50 futures contract edged up by 0.1 percent by 0620 GMT, Germany's DAX futures was flat while France's CAC futures also inched higher by 0.1 percent.

The ECB will announce its interest rate decision at 1145 GMT and ECB President Mario Draghi will explain any further policy decisions at a news conference at 1230 GMT at the central bank's Frankfurt headquarters.

The ECB looks set to keep interest rates steady and offer no new aid to the euro zone's fragile recovery despite a fall in inflation to its lowest in more than four years.

Policymakers have been willing in recent weeks to publicly broach cutting deposit rates below zero - effectively charging banks to hold cash with the ECB - or embarking on bond purchases as the United States, Japan and Britain have.

A straightforward cut in the ECB's main refinancing rate to 0.1 percent from 0.25 percent - or more complex changes to existing market programmes - are other possibilities.

"I don't think we'll do too much ahead of the ECB. My own view is that if they cut, we may rally for a bit and then sell off, and if they don't cut, markets will sell off," said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment Management.

"I think the market has got ahead of itself, ahead of the ECB," he added.   Continuación...