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European stocks slip ahead of ECB decision, Credit Suisse drops on turnaround plans

German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) - European shares opened lower on Thursday, as investors were cautious ahead of a widely expected interest rate hike from the European Central Bank, while Credit Suisse tumbled after the embattled Swiss bank unveiled restructuring plans.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index slipped 0.3%, after closing at a five-week high on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse fell 8.5%, after it said it planned to raise 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.05 billion) by selling stock, while slashing thousands of jobs and spinning off its investment bank in an effort to recover from a run of heavy losses.

The lender's stock, among the top decliners on the STOXX 600 index, hit a two-week low.

Investors are awaiting the European Central Bank's policy decision, due at 1215 GMT, with traders almost fully pricing in a 75 basis point rate hike to 0.75%. The bank is also likely to take the first steps in reducing its 8.8 trillion euro balance sheet, bloated by years of debt purchases and ultra cheap loans extended to banks.

Among other stocks, Neste tumbled 7.2%, after the Finnish refiner posted weaker-than-expected third-quarter operating results.

Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics slipped 3.1%, after it forecast sales growth to slow in the last part of the year.

Shell, however, rose 2.1%, after the energy major posted a third-quarter profit of $9.45 billion, announced plans to sharply boost its dividend by year end and extended its share repurchasing programme.

($1 = 0.9873 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)