LONDON (SHARECAST) - European markets posted gains on Friday after comments from the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, suggested the USs central bank is prepared to inject more stimulus into the economy.
Speaking at the Jackson Hole economic symposium in Wyoming, Bernanke said: The costs of non-traditional policies, when considered carefully, appear manageable, implying that we should not rule out the further use of such policies if economic conditions warrant.
The next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee is two weeks away.
In Europe, figures showed Euro area unemployment remained at a record 11.3% in July. The number is unchanged since an upward revision to the release in June. Its the highest level of unemployment within the block of countries which use the euro currency since data was first collected in 1995.
The strongest sector on the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 was banks, which gained 1.9%. Retail was the weakest, falling 0.42%.
Bank stocks were probably boosted by suggestions the nationalised Spanish lender, Bankia, could be recapitalised (it gained 6.3% on the news) and by Bernankes comments at Jackson Hole.
Hermes International, the luxury goods maker with a market cap of 23.84bn, rose 2.3% after earnings between January and June beat analysts expectations.
Futures contracts on a barrel of Brent crude rose 1.4% to $114.24 per barrel.