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Europe: Stocks advance as global stocks rally before ECB decision
[LONDON] European stock markets rose at the start of trading on Thursday, with all eyes on the outcome of the ECB's last policy meeting of the year.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained only a few points to 6,904.71 compared with Wednesday's close, lagging the eurozone's main indices.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 climbed 0.5 per cent to 11,035.76 points and the CAC 40 in Paris won 0.3 per cent to 4,709.89 - its highest level for one year.
The European Central Bank was Thursday widely expected to prolong massive monetary stimulus, as the election of Donald Trump and fears for heavyweight member Italy rattle the eurozone.
Most analysts predict president Mario Draghi will extend the US$86-billion per month bond-buying scheme beyond the current March deadline at his press conference.
Economic activity in the eurozone could suffer if US President-elect Donald Trump implements protectionist promises made on the campaign trail.
And the 28-country European Union has worries of its own, with Britain headed for the exit door, Italy destabilised by the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and elections in the key eurozone economies of France and Germany next year.