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Europe: Shares steady, near eight-month highs before ECB meeting

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[LONDON] European stock markets were steady in early trading on Thursday, leaving a leading regional index near eight-month highs, with many investors focusing on a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting later in the day.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.1 per cent, near its highest level in eight months.

Shares in British software group Micro Focus surged 20 per cent, the best-performing stock on the Stoxx 600 index, after sealing an US$8.8 billion deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The euro zone economy is widely expected to need more stimulus from the European Central Bank, but it may not come at the bank's policy meeting on Thursday.

Growth and inflation remain weak, but the ECB has already exhausted much of its firepower, so ECB President Mario Draghi has to pick his time and probably has enough arguments to wait a bit longer.


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