European Stocks Slump On Higher Euro; Nasdaq Streak Ends

European stock markets ended the week down as the euro extended its gains on Friday after the European Central Bank said it would reassess its monetary policy stance in the autumn, fueling talk that the age of cheap money was coming to an end.

Eurozone markets slumped more the 1.5 percent while London slipped 0.5 percent, also dragged lower by a weaker trading on Wall Street following mixed corporate earnings reports there, and as investors took profit after a healthy week.

In New York, the tech-rich Nasdaq index fell modestly, suffering its first drop after an 10-day streak that included three straight record closes.

Earnings from large US companies were mixed, with General Electric stumbling 2.9 percent following a gloomy profit outlook, while fellow Dow member Visa gained 1.5 percent after reporting a big jump in profits and offering a confident outlook.

The euro continued to climb against the dollar following Thursday’s ECB decision.

“As we had expected, the euro continued its upsurge yesterday even as the European Central Bank tried to appear as dovish as it possibly could in the current circumstances,” said analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

ECB chief Mario Draghi “diverted the attention away from the appreciating single currency at his press conference. The market interpreted this as a sign that Draghi and his ECB colleagues are not too concerned about the impact of the euro on eurozone exports.”

Draghi on Thursday tried to play down talk the bank is preparing to wind down its 60 billion euros ($69 billion) a month asset-buying scheme saying inflation remained tepid.

However, he said “discussions should take place in the fall” about the plan.

While Draghi tried to remain guarded, traders took that to mean the bank would soon announce a tapering.

“The euro resumed its rally even though… Draghi said that discussions on tapering were pushed back to after summer,” said LCG analyst Ipek Ozakardeskaya.

“The ECB is certainly preparing to unwind its asset purchases program starting from September, yet has no incitement to announce… and a premature announcement would jeopardize the performance of the QE program,” the expert said.

New York – DOW: DOWN 0.3 percent at 21,580.07 (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 2,472.54 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 6,387.75 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1666 from $1.1631

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2994 from $1.2972

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.13 yen from 111.94 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $1.15 cents at $45.77 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN $1.24 at $48.06 per barrel

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