European stocks rebound amid stable interest rates

European stock markets rebounded slightly and the euro edged down on Thursday after European central banks held key interest rates at record low levels and debt-stricken eurozone member Greece approved new austerity measures.

Gains were capped however amid concern that the US economy was facing a huge economic crisis as President Barack Obama's re-election raised the spectre of a bitter fiscal stand-off in Washington with potentially serious consequences.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies rose 0.10 percent to 5,797.38 points in afternoon deals, Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.16 percent to 7,244.54 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.35 percent to 3,421.53.

After the Bank of England and European Central Bank held their main lending rates at 0.50 percent and 0.74 percent, respectively, "attention is now on Mondays EU meeting where ministers will cast their verdict on the Greek deal," said Ishaq Siddiqi at ETX Capital.

Eurozone finance ministers are to decide whether to release a long-awaited installment of financial aid to Greece, which posted on Thursday a record level of unemployment at 25.4 percent of the workforce.

In Frankfurt, ECB President Mario Draghi welcomed a sweeping austerity package passed by Greek lawmakers to unlock its critical international aid.

"The ECB certainly welcomes the outcome of the vote yesterday as a very important step. It really represents progress," Draghi told a news conference.

In New York, US stocks edged higher in opening trade a day after markets greeted Obama's re-election with a massive plunge.

In the first five minutes of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added a bare 0.06 percent, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.14 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 0.27 percent.

In foreign exchange activity, the euro fell to $1.2733 from $1.2767 late in New York on Wednesday.

Gold prices dipped to $1,715 an ounce from $1,715.25 on Wednesday, when Greek lawmakers approved the huge cutbacks creditors had demanded to unlock aid that Athens needs to avert bankruptcy.

Budgets cut that total 18.5-billion-euro ($23.6 billion) won a narrow majority as thousands of anti-austerity protestors demonstrated around parliament in Athens.

The tough measures to be implemented by 2016, include raising the retirement age to 67, slashing benefits and cutting the minimum wage.

The package was required for Greece to unlock a 31.5-billion-euro tranche of aid from its troika of international creditors -- the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

On the corporate front meanwhile, shares in Siemens jumped 2.95 percent to 81.18 euros, while Commerzbank plummeted by 5.11 percent to 1.43 euros after Germany's second-biggest bank's return to profit in the third quarter fell short of analyst expectations.

Britain's second-biggest insurer Aviva climbed 1.55 percent to 333.60 pence as the company announced a drop in sales and confirmed it was in talks to sell its US business.

Attention was also on Washington after Obama's solid win on Tuesday, despite a dragging economy and the stifling unemployment that haunted his first term.

Investors were concerned that a deeply divided Congress would not be able to reach an agreement to avoid a so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year that many say would send the United States back into recession.

The fiscal cliff refers to a combination of deep spending cuts and huge tax hikes due to take effect on January 1.

The package, estimated to be worth 600 billion euros, is a major threat to the economy.

If it kicks in, the United States' slow recovery from the financial crisis could be reversed and the economy tip back into recession, which would in turn deal a major blow to the global economy.

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