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'Inevitable' ECB Rate Cut Fails to Impress Markets

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The European Central Bank on Thursday cut its main refinancing rate by 25 basis points to 0.5 percent, the first rate cut since July 2012.

But European stocks and the euro showed little movement after the much anticipated decision.

Most economists had expected a rate cut of 25 basis points. Record high unemployment figures for the euro zone released earlier this week and a fall in inflation strengthened the case for a rate cut.

"The ECB's decision to cut interest rates to 0.50 percent had looked ever more inevitable as latest data and survey evidence pointed to ongoing and widespread economic weakness across the euro zone as well as below target and receding inflation," Howard Archer, chief U.K. and European economist at IHS Global Insight said after the decision.

"I don't think it is something that fundamentally transforms the outlook for the market, nor is it (something) that fundamentally changes the outlook for the macro economy," Jens Larsen, Chief European Economist at RBC Capital Markets told CNBC after the decision.

(Read More: ECB Rate Cut Could Be Too Little, Too Late )

Markets will now turn their attention to a press conference with ECB President Mario Draghi at 1:30 p.m. London time for an indication of what the bank might to do boost lending to businesses.

Calls for such a program have grown stronger amid evidence that the ECB's cheap loans to banks have not trickled down to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

(Read More: ECB Seen Joining Central Banks With Rate Cuts )

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