Equities pare gains ahead of ECB, US data

Stock indices corrected yesterday's gains and were seen 0.5 - 1.0% weaker during Frankfurt and London trading hours.

During the Asian session, China reported 3.2% growth in its second-quarter GDP year-on-year earlier Thursday, as the world's second-largest economy returned to growth after the first quarter's contraction of 6.8%. Analysts had expected only 2.1% for today's reading. 

Moreover, Chinese industrial production for June improved to 4.8% year-over-year, from 4.4% previously, and fixed asset investment also rose to -3.1% from -6.3% scored in May. On the other hand, retail sales disappointed and printed -1.8%, better than -2.8% in May, but way below forecasts calling for 0.3%. 

Later in the day, the ECB meeting is due, and the central bank is seen to leave monetary policy unchanged. Thus, traders will focus on the forward guidance and the press conference, which could bring more clarity into the ECB's thinking. 

Additionally, the US initial jobless claims are expected to improve further, and attention will be paid to US retail sales as well, with market participants expecting a slowdown from the last month's record figures. 

In the FX, the greenback remained weak, with the EURUSD still above the 1.14 threshold and the USDJPY pair below the 107.00 level. 
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