European shares rise as inflation data raises prospect of ECB action
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.5 percent
* Car makers fall after Ford slashes profit outlook
* Weak inflation puts more pressure on ECB for action
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Tuesday, as another batch of weak euro zone inflation data raised the prospect of new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) to boost the region's flagging economy.
Euro zone inflation slowed to 0.3 percent in September, in line with market forecasts, because of falling prices of unprocessed food and energy, according to a first estimate by the European Union's statistics office.
The persistently low price growth underscores the ECB's difficulties in keeping inflation within its target of close to 2 percent as the euro zone economy stagnates. That raises the chances that it could introduce full-blown quantitative easing (QE) and buy government bonds, although that would be politically difficult because of stiff opposition in Germany.
Nevertheless, traders said many investors would look for more hints on QE at the ECB's meeting on Thursday, and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up by 0.5 percent at 1,378.29 points in mid-session trading.
"At least the inflation figure was not complete deflation and investors will still be looking out for any hints on QE on Thursday," said Rupert Baker, a European equity sales executive at Mirabaud Securities. Continuación...