Markets await key rate decisions and the eagerly anticipated ECB press conference

<p>- With European markets starting September in a quiet manner, today is expected to change all of that with volatility and volume likely to return. […]</p>

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- With European markets starting September in a quiet manner, today is expected to change all of that with volatility and volume likely to return.

- With the BoE rate decision at 12 noon unlikely to provide any changes, traders will instead be concentrating on the asset-purchasing scheme with an additional £50billion expected to be authorised.

- However significant this is, the main attention will undoubtedly be on Europe, the ECB and Mario Draghi.

- At 12.45pm we have their rate decision, with a 25-basis-point cut widely anticipated while at 1.30pm we will have Mario Draghi’s long awaited press conference.

- With all of this to come later on, not to mention the weekly jobs figures from the US at 1.30pm as well, the market is looking quite strong.

- The FTSE 100 is 0.6% higher at 5692, while the German DAX is 0.8% higher at 7020. Dow futures are also looking positive, up close to 0.5%

- Leading the UK equities this morning we see Whitbread after like-for-like sales rose 4.2%, prompting Panmure to raise its price target on the stock – the company is currently 5.5% higher.

- Morrisons is also stronger after posting results towards the top end of analysts’ expectations – trading 4.5% higher.

- Propping up the FTSE we see Admiral, down 1.6%, with the stock still struggling after recent broker downgrades.

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