Shares, stocks and corporate news: What you need to know before the open

Total shares: 488
European shares are set to open mixed this morning ahead of the European Central Bank's (ECB) policy meeting taking place today.
 
The FTSE is seen opening down 13 points at 6,906, the German DAX up 10 points at 11,400 and the French CAC up 4 points at 4,921.
 
The ECB will release an updated macroeconomic forecasts for the Eurozone, and ECB president Mario Draghi is widely expected to provide more details about the central bank’s 1 trillion quantitative easing (QE) programme first announced in January. The euro slumped to to an 11-year low against the dollar prior to the meeting.
 
The Bank of England's monetary policy committee is expected to hold rates at a record low of 0.5 per cent for what will be the sixth year running. Threadneedle Street is also expected to keep the size of its quantitative easing programme at £375 billion.

Corporate news

  • Budget airline easyJet said passenger count jump 6.1 per cent to 4.5m for February.
  • Aggreko reported revenue remained flat for the year ended 31 December 2014.
  • Aviva said full-year operating profit1 was six per cent higher at £2.1bn,
  • Schroders said pre-tax profit rose 11 per cent to £565.2m for the year ended 31 December 2014.
  • The London Stock Exchange reported full-year total income risng 26 per cent to £1.38bn.

Data in focus

  • Italy fourth quarter gross domestic product (9.00am)
  • Bank of England interest rate decision (12.00pm)
  • European Central Bank interest rate decision (12.45pm)
  • European Central Bank monetary policy statement and press conference (1.30pm)
  • US initial jobless claims (1.30pm)

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