European equities strike positive tone as investors await QE details


US stocks retreated further from the record highs struck at the beginning of the week as a mixed batch of economic data offered few new clues on the outlook for Federal Reserve policy ahead of tomorrow's non-farm payrolls report. But European equities staged a solid rally after the previous session's sharp fall, as the euro sank to an 11-year low against the dollar and participants awaited details of the European Central Bank's €60bn-a-month asset purchase programme. By midday in New York, the S&P 500 index was down 0.7% at 2,093, leaving the US equity benchmark down about 1.1% from Monday's record close. The Nasdaq Composite index, which closed above 5,000 on Monday for the first time in nearly 15 years, was down 0.4% at 4,961. Across the Atlantic, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 ended 0.8% higher, but shy of a recent seven-year peak. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.6%.


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