* STOXX 600 drops 0.9 percent
* Draghi says QE extension not discussed
* ECB holds rates, sticks to stimulus timetable
* Pearson drops on weak peer results
* Micro Focus surges after Hewlett Packard deal
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By Alistair Smout and Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Sept 8 European stock markets fell on
Thursday, turning lower after the European Central Bank stuck to
its timetable for its stimulus programme and President Mario
Draghi said an extension had not been discussed.
The ECB held interest rates steady, as expected, and
investors were looking to Draghi's press conference for dovish
signs that the central bank's programme of quantitative easing
could be allowed to run longer than scheduled.
However, the STOXX 600 hit session lows shortly
after Draghi said that such an extension of the prgoramme had
not been discussed, while the euro rose.
"It seems the recent deterioration in survey and inflation
data is still not enough to push the ECB to ease further. While
today's inaction on policy is not too surprising, given their
traditionally deliberate nature, we were expecting some language
that would help prepare the market for easing later this year,"
said Timothy Graf, head of macro strategy at State Street Global
The STOXX 600 was down 0.9 percent by 1330 GMT, dropping
from near eight-month highs.
The index is down around 5 percent in 2016, although it has
rallied over the last two months from lows reached in June after
Britain's shock 'Brexit' vote to quit the European Union.
Pearson was the top faller on Thursday, tumbling
7.1 percent on readacross from disappointing results from U.S.
peer John Wiley.
Chip makers also came under pressure, with Austria
Microsystems, ASML and Dialog Semiconductor
down 3-5.5 percent, after Apple, a major user
of chips, released a new iPhone which analysts said was
Among risers, British software company Micro Focus
surged around 17 percent, the best-performing stock on the STOXX
600 index, after sealing an $8.8 billion deal for Hewlett
Packard Enterprise to merge its non-core software assets
with Micro Focus's business.
However, Rocket Internet fell 3.3 percent after
the German e-commerce investment company cut the valuation of
its Home24 online furniture business.
(Editing by Susan Fenton)