European shares pause after recent rally, BoE decision in focus By Reuters


(Reuters) – European stocks were muted on Thursday, as investors took a breather after recent gains and awaited the Bank of England’s policy decision later in the day, while shares of Spanish bank Sabadell jumped after rival BBVA (BME:)’s hostile takeover bid.

The pan-European edged 0.1% lower by 0720 GMT, after notching record-closing highs for two straight days.

Automobiles was the worst hit sector, down 1.2%, dragged by a 5.5% drop in Mercedes-Benz (OTC:).

Spanish bank Sabadell jumped 5.5% after rival BBVA presented a 12.23 billion euro takeover bid directly to shareholders, even though the former’s board already rejected the proposal. BBVA shares were down 5.4%.

Belgian pharmaceutical firm lost 7.8% following first-quarter earnings.

Italian payments group Nexi (BIT:) jumped 6.6% after a larger-than-forecast rise in first-quarter core profit.

BE Semiconductor Industries (AS:) climbed 5.1% after announcing it received order for 26 hybrid bonding systems.

The BoE is set to announce its policy decision during the day, expected to hold rates steady and likely take another step towards a rate cut, but will probably be cautious about signalling an imminent move.

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