European shares steady ahead of ECB decision
MILAN Dec 3 (Reuters) - European shares were broadly steady in early deals on Thursday as some investors held back from taking big positions before the European Central Bank unveils its policy decision later in the day.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.16 percent and the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 both advanced 0.29 percent.
The ECB is expected to deliver measures that could include a deposit rate cut and changes to its asset-buying programme. It will announce its interest rate decision at 1245 GMT and unveil measures not involving rates at a 1330 GMT news conference.
"The focus of the market is on how much (ECB chief Mario) Draghi will be able to surprise," said Giuseppe Sersale, fund manager at Anthilia Capital.
If Draghi is seen to have disappointed the market, the risk is for a "robust correction", he added.
Italian grid operators Snam and Terna were the top gainers on the FTSEurofirst after the Italian energy regulator set new criteria for investment returns. They were both up more than 3 percent.
Miners and energy stocks were the biggest sectoral losers on the back of weaker commodity prices. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Lionel Laurent)
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