Europe’s main bourses were as much as 0.7 percent lower as traders pulled back after six days of unbroken gains, fuelled by relief at the outcome of the first round of France’s presidential election and encouraging earnings and data.
The Bank of Japan offered its most upbeat economic assessment in nine years, but Asia-Pacific shares ended flat a day after hitting their highest in almost two years.
A surprise move by Sweden’s central bank to expand its stimulus programme pushed the crown down sharply, while the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso held gains after the US said it would not scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).
But the focus was turning to the ECB and what bank head Mario Draghi and his colleagues have made of a recent upturn in euro zone economic data, underscored while they met as the bloc’s economic confidence rose to near a 10-year high.
As widely expected, the bank made no changes to its record low interest rates or stimulus programme.
Euro zone government bond yields nudged up along with the euro which was at $1.0913 having been as high as $1.0950 this week after pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron topped the first round vote in France.
Disappointment lingered elsewhere, though, after Donald Trump’s plans to slash US tax rates offered no concrete details on how they would be paid for.
Billed beforehand as the biggest tax cut in history, they amounted to little more than a one-page plan and fuelled a suspicion that it could run into opposition from US politicians worried about increasing the country’s debt levels.
The dip in European shares saw them retreat from 20-month highs, with banks, insurers and commodity-related stocks the main drag, although gains in other cyclical industrials on the back of strong earnings kept losses down.
Deutsche Bank shares fell as much as 3.5 percent as a drop in its revenues overshadowed a more than doubling of first-quarter net profits. Its shares have nearly doubled, though, since last year’s solvency worries.
Upbeat results from SKF, Bayer and Subsea 7 - companies closely geared to economic growth - were cheered as more investors piled into the European recovery story. In emerging markets, the peso made the most ground but Turkey’s lira was firing too.