The Latest: Analysts see risk ECB could disappoint markets

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The Latest on the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, has a difficult task later when he outlines the details of the bank's expected stimulus package.

The markets expect action but are nervous after last December's package of measures failed to meet expectations.

Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, says that there could be a similar "disappointment" if the ECB doesn't back an increase in its stimulus program in which it buys 60 billion euros ($65.5 billion) in bonds a month.

And Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital, says "the risk of market expectations being disappointed is quite high."

Any disappointment could heap pressure on stocks and send the euro surging. A rising currency would weigh on the struggling eurozone economy as it would make the region's exports more expensive and further dampen down already weak inflation by making imports cheaper.

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11:10 a.m.

Investors appear to be a little apprehensive ahead of the European Central Bank's policy decision, with stocks down slightly.

The central bank is widely expected to cut a key interest rate further below zero and to step up its program to inject money into the economy, in the hope of raising inflation and economic activity.

The last time markets were expecting a new stimulus injection by the ECB, in December, the central bank underwhelmed, leading to a sharp drop in stocks. The euro surged as the stimulus was not as big as anticipated.

In midmorning trading, the Stoxx 600 index of European shares was down 0.1 percent, while the euro was 0.3 percent lower at $1.0970.