The Spanish stock index IBEX 35 opened lower on Thursday after three sessions in positive territory, as markets await monetary and macroeconomic news and analyze the announcement of an unsolicited takeover bid by BBVA for its competitor Sabadell.

The morning brought new foreign trade data from China that pointed to an important reactivation of consumption and now investors are waiting for the Bank of England meeting, where in principle no immediate changes in interest rates are expected.

"We expect stable rates (5.25%) and will be watching the tone of Governor (Andrew) Bailey's speech, which could give clues about the start of the cuts (the market discounts two cuts in 2024, the first in August)," said analysts at brokerage house Renta 4.

"From his words we will conclude whether his position is more similar to the American one (wait for further wage and services price controls before starting rate cuts) or to the European one (start early with rate cuts in the face of a weak economy, where the OECD has revised down its growth forecasts for 2024 by 3 tenths to +0.4%)," they added.

As for interest rate expectations on the other side of the Atlantic, the markets will be scrutinizing several important indicators in the United States in the coming days: the weekly unemployment data (Thursday), the University of Michigan consumer confidence survey (Friday) and, above all, the April inflation report (Wednesday, May 15).

On the microeconomic front, the news of the day was the hostile bid announced by BBVA for Sabadell, which was presented in the same terms already anticipated last week, despite the fact that the board of the Catalan entity rejected the proposal.

"The takeover bid price implies valuing Sabadell at a P/VCT 24e of 0.93x vs. our estimates (vs. 0.8x currently) and 0.9x vs. 2025e. (...) We believe that at these prices the offer is not attractive and we would not go for the bid," said Renta 4 analysts.

BBVA shares reacted with a 6% drop and Sabadell shares rose 5%.

Elsewhere, the market continued to be on the lookout for the war in the Middle East, after US President Joe Biden publicly promised for the first time not to supply weapons to Israel if its forces carry out an invasion of Rafah, in southern Gaza, while negotiations continued on Thursday in Cairo on a ceasefire plan for the enclave.

Overall, at 0705 GMT on Thursday, Spain's selective IBEX 35 stock index was down 56.60 points, or 0.51%, to 11,096.40 points, while the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of large European stocks was down 0.09%.

In the banking sector, Santander rose 0.44%, BBVA fell 5.34%, Caixabank advanced 0.16%, Sabadell gained 4.47%, Bankinter gained 0.51%, and Unicaja Banco rose 1.11%.

Among the large non-financial stocks, Telefónica stood out, with a decline of 0.86% after publishing unsurprising quarterly results.

Elsewhere, Inditex fell 0.46%, Iberdrola dropped 0.38%, Cellnex gained 0.15%, and the oil company Repsol rose 0.65%.

(Information by Tomás Cobos; edited by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)