European stocks closed lower Thursday after the European Central Bank announced a larger-than-expected expansion of its coronavirus stimulus program.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by almost 0.8% provisionally following the ECB decision, with all sectors turning negative. Auto shares were the worst performers, falling 1.7%.
The euro zone’s central bank announced a 600 billion euro ($672 billion) expansion of its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP), a larger increase than analysts had been expecting. The PEPP expansion comes on top of an existing 750 billion euros of government bond purchases set out in March, bringing the total value of asset purchases to 1.35 trillion euros in a bid to weather the euro zone’s worst economic downturn since World War II.