European stocks rise as ECB maintains interest rates

<p>Europe’s stock indices have made gains as the ECB maintains its benchmark interest rate.</p>

The main European stock indices have gained ground in trading this afternoon (February 7th), as the European Central Bank (ECB) has left the single currency region's interest rates unchanged at 0.75 per cent.

This outcome was widely expected and as such, the markets are paying closer attention to how the current summit of European Union leaders is playing out.

Many economists do not expect the ECB to alter rates from their current record low until 2014 at the very earliest, with president Mario Draghi telling the press recently that business confidence is returning but the situation remains in a "fragile" state.

The last time the central bank changed its benchmark interest rate was in July, when it was slashed from one per cent.

At 15:30 GMT, the pan-European DJ Eurostoxx 50 rose by 0.1 per cent to an index value of 2620.1 points, while the Dax in Frankfurt made 0.3 per cent gains to 7605.4 points.

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