Europe's main stock markets pushed higher Wednesday, the eve of a key meeting of the ECB and after losses across Asia, as traders look for policy action from central bankers. The European Central Bank will almost certainly announce new stimulus measures at its policy meeting Thursday, analysts said, as eurozone inflation turns negative and the economic outlook continues to cloud over. "Despite a rough Asian session, with the lingering effects of China's export-plunge causing both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei to feel the pinch, the European indices have started the day tentatively in the green after two days of nervy losses," said Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex trading group. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent, while eurozone heavyweights Frankfurt and Paris gained 0.5 percent in late morning deals. The euro was stable against the dollar.
World indices had fallen heavily on Tuesday and nervous investors in Asia resumed selling Wednesday on worries over the weak global economy.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday urged governments to take action to prevent another global recession, warning there was an increasingly "dangerous" view that policymakers are out of ideas or had lost the will. After disappointing financial markets with what were widely perceived as half-hearted measures in December, ECB chief Mario Draghi will announce bolder policy moves this time round, central bank watchers predicted. These were most likely to include a further cut in interest rates, an increase in the volume of bonds it buys each month under its so-called quantitative easing or QE stimulus program and a further extension of that measure beyond its current timeframe of March 2017.