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As expected, Thursday the ECB announced it was keeping its negative interest rates and beginning a third round of its Targeted Longer-Term Refinancing Operations program, which will offer cheap 2-year loans to eurozone banks, linked to lending to businesses and households.

What's happening: It's been clear since January that quantitative tightening is not happening this year, but the ECB is the first central bank in the developed world to actually go in reverse. Policymakers also slashed growth forecasts for the euro area from 1.7% to 1.1%, which was more aggressive than investors had anticipated.

On Wednesday the Bank of Canada left rates on hold and sent a warning that "the slowdown in the global economy has been more pronounced" and that its economy may be weaker than anyone realized.

  • "Although we figured the economy was in for a detour at the end of last year, that detour may wind up being longer than we had expected," Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson said a day after the BOC policy meeting.

The intrigue: Both the Canadian dollar and the euro weakened against the U.S. dollar after the respective central bank meetings, but stocks got no juice.

Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX index edged 0.03% higher Wednesday, despite the market now pricing in greater odds of a BOC rate cut than a hike. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.55% Thursday and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe fell for a fourth straight day, its longest losing streak since December.

  • Central banks pulling off the breaks and pumping the accelerator is supposed to be good news for equities.

What they're saying: "The depth of cynicism regarding the risks to global growth was on clear display on Thursday, as a dovish ECB actually increasing accommodation not just removing it slower failed to spur the kind of repricing the Governing Council presumably had wanted," BMO Capital Markets analysts said in a note to clients.

  • "In some ways, this is consistent with the idea that the bar is set very high to avert a synchronized slowdown," the analysts said.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Report: Pentagon watchdog finds Ronny Jackson drank on duty and harassed staff

Rep. Ronny Jackson walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) allegedly made "sexual and denigrating" comments about a female staffer, drank alcohol and took sleeping medication while working as White House physician, according to a report obtained by CNN Tuesday night.

Driving the news: The Department of Defense inspector general's report stems from a years-long investigation. Jackson has called the allegations "false and fabricated."

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.

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