European Shares Seen Mixed Ahead Of BOE Rate Decision

European stocks look set to open mostly lower on Thursday, with the BOE rate decision later in the day and Friday’s U.S. jobs report likely to be in focus.

The Bank of England is expected to increase interest rates by 25 basis points to 5.25 percent and it remains to be seen whether the central bank will signal an increase to the pace of bond sales.

Economists expect U.S. employment to increase by 200,000 jobs in July after an increase of 209,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.6 percent.

U.S. data on weekly jobless claims, labor productivity, service sector activity and factory orders may attract attention later in the day while tech giants Apple and Amazon are due to unveil their highly anticipated quarterly earnings reports.

Asian markets traded mostly lower as risk-off sentiment prevailed despite analysts downplaying the impact of U.S. rating downgrade.

China growth concerns eased somewhat after a private survey showed services activity in the country expanded at a slightly faster pace in July.

Tech stocks continued to face selling pressure as the dollar surged and U.S. Treasury yields hit their highest in nearly nine months after the release of strong ADP private sector employment data.

Gold held near three-week lows while oil prices were little changed after settling down about 2 percent in the U.S. trading session overnight.

U.S. stocks and bonds suffered a wave of selling overnight after a surprise downgrade of the country’s debt rating by Fitch, citing fiscal deterioration and repeated debt ceiling standoffs.

Also, data showed U.S. private sector employment jumped by much more than expected in July, reviving Fed rate hike bets.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 2.2 percent while the Dow lost 1 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 1.4 percent.

European stocks also closed sharply lower on Wednesday amid worries about slowing global growth and the mounting cost to finance U.S. debt as interest rates rise.

The German DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 both fell around 1.4 percent while France’s CAC 40 shed 1.3 percent.

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