European Stocks Higher; Dovish Fed Minutes Help Sentiment By


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By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded higher Thursday, helped by expectations of a global economic recovery after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to an ultra-easy monetary policy.

At 4:20 AM ET (0920 GMT), the in Germany traded 0.2% higher, the in France rose 0.5% and the U.K.’s gained 0.3%, climbing to a 52-week high. 

The positive tone in Europe, following a record close on Wall Street by the broad-based and gains in Asia, has been largely based on the release of the from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting.

The central bank saw the U.S. economy, the world’s largest, recovering quickly, but indicated there was much more progress needed before low interest rates and the pace of asset purchases were changed.

AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:) stock rose 1.1% after updates from the U.K. and European medical regulators turned out less negative than feared for its Covid-19 vaccine. Both regulators restated that the benefits of taking the vaccines outweigh the risks, although both acknowledged a possible link to blood clotting disorders. U.K. medical data indicate 19 deaths from such clots. The U.K. has administered over 20 million shots of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

Continental Europe is still struggling with a third wave of Covid-19 cases, with authorities in several Spanish regions tightening mobility restrictions on Wednesday to rein in a rising infection rate.

In corporate news, Bang & Olufsen (CSE:) stock soared over 8% after the Danish luxury TV and stereo maker maintained its full year guidance after posting double-digit sales growth for a third quarter in a row, helped by greater demand for home entertainment during the pandemic.

Additionally, ABB  (ST:) stock rose 0.6% after the Swedish-Swiss electrical equipment retailer announced a new share buyback plan.

ASOS (LON:) stock fell 1.1% after the British online fashion retailer expressed caution about the short term even as it announced a sharp rise in profits as the pandemic drove customers online. Homeware retailer Dunelm (LON:) stock climbed 2.6% after saying it expects full-year profit to be above the top end of the current range of analyst forecasts.

Dutch-based technology investor Prosus (OTC:) rose 0.6% after it sold 2% of China’s Tencent Holdings (OTC:) for $14.7 billion in the world’s largest-ever block trade.

Oil prices weakened Thursday after a sharp rise in U.S. gasoline stocks raised concerns about demand growth for crude in the world’s largest consumer.

stocks fell by 3.5 million barrels last week, according to official data from the U.S. released late Wednesday, but it was the rise of 4 million barrels in gasoline inventories, against expectations of a decline, that had the most impact on the market. 

U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% lower at $59.24 a barrel, while the contract fell 0.6% to $62.78. 

Elsewhere, rose 0.3% to $1,746.15/oz, while traded 0.1% higher at 1.1882.


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