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European stocks lower pending ECB, Credit Suisse falls

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European stocks opened lower on Thursday as investors wary of an expected interest rate hike by the European Central Bank, while troubled Swiss bank Credit Suisse fell after unveiling its restructuring plans.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3%, after closing at its highest in five weeks on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse fell 8.5% after it said it planned to raise 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.05 billion) by selling shares, while cutting thousands of jobs and spinning off its investment bank into a effort to recover from a losing streak.

Shares of the bank, which are among the biggest decliners in the STOXX 600 index, hit a two-week low.

Investors are awaiting the European Central Bank’s monetary policy decision, scheduled for 1215 GMT, with traders taking a 75 basis point rate hike to 0.75% almost for granted. The bank is also likely to take the first steps to reduce its €8.8 trillion balance sheet, oversized by years of debt purchases and ultra-cheap loans to banks.

Among other stocks, Neste slumped 7.2%, after the Finnish refiner reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter operating results.

Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics fell 3.1% after forecasting slower sales growth in the latter part of the year.

Shell, however, rose 2.1%, after the energy company posted a $9.45 billion profit in the third quarter, announced plans to significantly increase its dividend by the end of the year and expanded its repurchase of shares.

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