Mixed earnings cap gains on European stocks ahead of ECB decision By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The DAX chart of the German equity price index is pictured on the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Staff

(Reuters) – European stocks held steady on Thursday after a string of mixed earnings, as investors awaited news from the European Central Bank amid risks to economic growth from rising inflation.

The pan-European index was little changed at 07:22 GMT after a strong arrival on Wall Street and gains in Asian stocks. Eurozone equities edged up 0.2%.

Bag maker Birkin Hermes gained 2.2% after quarterly sales beat estimates, driven by a strong appetite for its luxury accessories, particularly in the United States and Europe.

Travel and leisure stocks advanced the most among the sectors, with low-cost airline Wizz Air up 5.3% despite a bleak outlook.

Sweden’s Ericsson (BS:), criticized for its handling of an Iraq corruption probe, fell 8.7% after it warned of a potential fine from US regulators and announced a drop in its base profits in the first trimester.

The ECB’s decision, expected at 11:45 GMT, could provide a clearer timetable for the end of its bond buying program and subsequent interest rate hikes.

It lags behind most other major central banks, which started raising interest rates last year.

Among other stocks, Italian airport and highway operator Atlantia gained 5.3% after Italian family holding company Benetton and US investment fund Blackstone (NYSE:) said they would spend up to 12.7 billion euros ($14 billion) to privatize the company.

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