Friday, August 29 17:56:38
European shares eked out small gains in thin, choppy trade on Friday, helping one key euro zone index of blue chips record its biggest monthly rise since February.
Most European bourses closed off their morning highs, however, after euro zone inflation data slightly cooled market speculation about fresh monetary stimulus by the European Central bank, a key driver behind the market bounce over the past three weeks.
Euro zone inflation dropped as expected to a fresh five-year low in August, data showed on Friday, but it was not likely to force the ECB into immediate policy intervention next week.
Dovish comments by ECB President Mario Draghi last week had fuelled market bets that the central bank was preparing to pump more into the system, possibly via purchases of government or corporate bonds, a measure known as quantitative easing (QE).
"I think what people realise is that for the ECB to engage in public-sector QE..., the ECB has to see the whites of the eyes of deflation," Wouter Sturkenboom, investment strategist at Russell Investments, said.
"As the numbers come through, those conditions are not being met so...they have to reassess their case."
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