Draghi: ECB will be cautious in adjusting stimulus effort

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"Draghi's comments I would say were quite optimistic on the growth outlook, talking about a broadening recovery and even saying growth was above trend", said Niels Christensen, currency strategist with Nordea bank in Copenhagen.

Speaking to a conference in Portugal, Draghi said the central bank could adjust its policy tools of sub-zero interest rates and massive bond purchases as economic prospects improve in Europe.

The DAX of Germany dropped 0.78 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 0.70 percent.

Turning to reaction in the forex markets, euro/dollar jumped to reach the near two-week high of 1.1236 within a ten-minute time frame of Draghi starting to give his speech.

William Hill Plc dragged leisure shares lower after Investec said further challenges remain for the United Kingdom bookmaking sector, downgrading the stock to sell. The FTSE 100 of leading British shares was 0.2 percent lower at 7,435. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index edged 0.1 percent lower to 25,852.77. The Nikkei ended the morning session 0.3 percent higher.

"However, he's got a track record of keeping the stimulus in place so when you've got a market that's positioned. for euro longs, we're just concerned that there's more downside risk to the euro than upside because it could unwind pretty quick if action doesn't follow the rhetoric", Arnold said.

The dollar's weakness was exacerbated after a survey showing weaker-than-expected US home price acceleration in April.

Though he admitted "there are still factors that are weighing on the path of inflation", he stressed these were mainly temporary factors and that persistent monetary accommodation was required for inflation to become durable and self-sustaining.

Shares of Google parent Alphabet fell 1.4% after the European Union's antitrust regulator fined Google EUR2.42 billion ($2.71 billion) for favoring its own comparison-shopping service in search results. The yield curve has flattened in the past month as Federal Reserve officials including New York Fed President William Dudley indicated that further monetary policy tightening was likely.

As Mr Draghi spoke, the euro climbed 0.7 per cent against to the dollar to $1.1258, its highest since June 2014, although the rally coincided with a wider trend for a weaker USA currency. The comments were a significant signal that the European Central Bank will edge towards removing some monetary policy accommodation within the next few months.

The euro licked its wounds after contrastingly dovish comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

The KBW Nasdaq Bank Index of U.S. commercial lenders rose 1.6%, while the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed to 2.210%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.135%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 percent to 5,714.20.

Spot gold added 0.2 percent to $1,246.90 an ounce. The FTSE 100 of the United Kingdom declined 0.17 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 0.53 percent.

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