Europe Markets: European stocks in the red as airline shares slump

European stocks hunted for firm direction Thursday, as airline shares fell after a profit warning from EasyJet PLC, and bank shares held higher ground.

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.24% was off 0.1% at 343.89, pulling back after rising as much as 0.4% as trading got underway. The index on Wednesday dropped 0.6%, the first loss in seven sessions, following a Bloomberg report that the European Central Bank was considering winding down monthly bond purchases before March, when the program was scheduled to end. The ECB has denied that such discussion took place.

ECB minutes: Minutes from the ECB’s meeting in September showed policy makers remained focused on trying to pump up slack eurozone inflation levels.

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