July 31, 2019 / 7:29 AM / 18 days ago

European shares steady after trade slide; Fed in focus

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July 31 (Reuters) - European shares steadied early on Wednesday, as strong results from French bank BNP Paribas countered a poor report from British bank Lloyds in a market marking time ahead of a keenly-awaited U.S. Federal Reserve decision on interest rates.

A quarter-point cut by the Fed on Wednesday has been fully priced in by money markets, but investors will be looking at the comments with the decision for signs of how far it could go with further easing this year to support growth.

The Fed’s decision is expected after European market hours at 1800 GMT, with Chair Jerome Powell scheduled to hold a press conference soon after.

By 0713 the pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.08%, steadying after its worst day in nearly three months in the previous session, when stocks globally took a beating from a toughening of Trump’s trade rhetoric against China.

France’s largest bank by assets, BNP Paribas rose 3.1% after a strong performance by its corporate and investment banking division buoyed quarterly profits.

Lloyds Banking Group, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, dropped 4.4% after posting weaker-than-expected pretax profits. (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru;)

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