The FTSE 100 is flat in mid-morning trading, as traders hunker down and await a crucial ECB meeting.

-       Big day dawns for Draghi

-       Eurozone economy firmly under pressure

-       Morrisons bounces on news of special dividend

ECB day finds markets on edge ahead of the most important meeting for the eurozone’s central bank in over three years. The timing of today’s eurozone industrial data could not be better, for it underlines the growing malaise of the currency bloc, which is fighting the classic signs of a recession while trying to stave off a trade war with the US and manage the departure of the UK from the European Union. In such an environment, everyone outside the ECB (and probably inside too) is asking themselves, ‘what will another cut in rates really do?’. The answer is, of course, ‘not much’, and even a full-blown QE exercise will only buy the eurozone some time. But with state spending (read: German spending) still AWOL, the ECB must fill the gap however it can. Markets have all but priced-in something impressive, so a failure to act today, or signal that more is coming, would see eurozone equities retrace much of the ground won in September, while a surge in EURUSD would be a very high probability.

Morrisons has managed to garner a decent bounce in its shares today, up nearly 4%, resulting in a 13% gain from the August low. But beyond the special dividend there isn’t much in the way of good news, since like-for-like sales are under pressure. A strategy of ‘fix, rebuild and grow’ might be the official line, but now the ‘fix’ and ‘rebuild’ bits are done, ‘growth’ appears to be lacking.

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start at 27,194, up 57 points from Wednesday’s close.

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