UPDATE: 7:45 a.m. EDT -- The European Central Bank (ECB) has reportedly decided to keep interest rates unchanged, according to reports.
The central bank's 25-member governing council left the main refinancing rate at a record-low 0.05 percent Thursday, Bloomberg reported, adding that the deposit rate and the marginal lending rate also stayed at minus 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
European stocks held steady Thursday as investors awaited the outcome of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day that could provide clarity on future stimulus measures.
"Watch out for hints of broader QE (quantitative easing) and whether further interest rate cuts may have been discussed," Commerzbank rates strategist Rainer Guntermann told Reuters. "Yet, the bar for a dovish surprise is high."
The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.3 percent after being down 0.11 percent while London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.06 percent. Germany’s DAX was up 0.29 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was down 0.04 percent.
Performance on the region's stock indexes was mixed ahead of the ECB's meeting despite uplifting economic data from France and Spain. While business confidence in France -- Europe’s second-largest economy -- climbed to a four-year high on growing demand for services and retail sales, unemployment in Spain fell to its lowest level since 2011 in the third quarter, Bloomberg reported.
In the U.S., rising stock futures pointed to a solid start to the day's trading. Futures on the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow Jones indexes were trading up between 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent as a number of major corporations are set to report quarterly earnings.
In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.45 percent, shrugging off Wednesday’s worst one-day fall in five weeks. The Nasdaq-style Chinext index was up 4.84 percent while the smaller Shenzhen Component Index was up 3.56 percent. The Shanghai Composite index has rebounded 10 percent in October, Bloomberg reported, amid expectations of stimulus measures from the Communist Party ahead of its fifth plenary session starting Oct. 26.
Elsewhere in Asia, markets were mostly down after disappointing U.S. earnings reports dented investor sentiment. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.65 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 was down 0.64 percent while South Korea's Kospi was down 0.98 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended the day positive -- up 0.30 percent. India's BSE Sensex did not trade due to a state holiday.