Traders are now awaiting the European Central Bank's rate decision later Thursday

London (AFP) - Eurozone stock markets steadied Thursday with all eyes on whether the European Central Bank will announce a further hike to eurozone interest rates.

A mixed US inflation report Wednesday boosted most global equity markets as it soothed fears of a possible Federal Reserve interest rate hike next week, though the still hot reading left open the possibility of one more before year’s end.

The euro steadied against the dollar, while oil prices continued to rally Thursday, fuelling concerns that inflation would stay high for longer.

“All eyes are on the ECB’s interest rate decision later today with investors divided over whether the central bank will raise interest rates for a 10th time to combat inflation or keep rates on hold to avoid inflicting additional economic pain,” noted Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

The European Central Bank is struggling to navigate competing data that could push them either way – prices continue to rise fast, but the outlook in the single currency area is also deteriorating rapidly.

Crude prices remain elevated, sitting at 10-month highs, with some analysts warning they could break back to $100 per barrel.

On the corporate front, British chip designer Arm said it was targeting a valuation of more than $52 billion for its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday.

Arm, whose semiconductor design is integrated into the vast majority of smartphones worldwide, has priced its shares at $51, the firm announced Wednesday, ahead of the largest IPO New York has seen for almost two years.

The company, which is a world leader in smartphone chip design and is owned by the Japanese tech investor SoftBank, has announced it will list on the tech-rich Nasdaq stock exchange under the “ARM” ticker.

- Key figures around 1030 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.0 percent at 7,600.17 points

Frankfurt - DAX: FLAT at 15,660.77

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 7,233.83

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 4,232.99

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 33,168.10 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.2 percent at 18,047.92 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,126.55 (close)

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.2 percent at 34,575.53 (close)

Euro/dollar: UNCHANGED at $1.0733 on Wednesday

Euro/pound: UP at 86.07 pence from 85.91 pence

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2470 from $1.2490

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 147.35 yen from 147.47 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.1 percent at $92.92 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.2 percent at $89.54 per barrel