European stocks steady at open, before ECB

Europe's main stock markets were steady at the start of trading on Thursday, with the ECB widely expected to announce a cut in eurozone interest rates.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index edged up 0.03 percent to 9,929.41 points and the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.07 percent to 4,504.06.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies opened flat, standing at 6,818.15 points compared with Wednesday's closing level.

The European Central Bank is forecast to cut its key interest rates on Thursday and unveil other unconventional measures in a battle against deflation, analysts said.

After effectively pre-announcing a move last month and carefully priming the financial markets for action since then, the ECB's governing council is finally expected to deliver at its regular monthly policy meeting in Frankfurt.

The ECB has held its key interest rates steady at their current all-time lows -- of 0.75 percent, 0.25 percent and zero percent respectively -- since November.

Also on Thursday, the Bank of England is expected to keep its main interest rate at a record-low 0.50 percent.