Europe close: Stocks extend gains as Fed makes case for patient approach
European stock markets extended their recent gains on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve said overnight that it was content to keep monetary policy loose for "some time" until economic conditions improve sufficiently from the Covid pandemic.
The Fed meeting notes “has further reassured investors that (Fed Chairman) Jay Powell and the gang won’t be turning off the stimulus taps any time soon”, said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
The benchmark pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.58% to 436.86 on the back of those comments. Most major continental bourses were higher, with France's CAC up 0.57% to 6,165.72 following the release of the minutes of the US central bank's most recent meeting.
Italy's FTSE Mibtel was the exception on the Continent, falling 0.66% to 24,576.51.
In the background, yields on longer-term government bond yields were slipping around the world in the wake of the Fed's remarks.
Also overnight, Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard said policymakers expect "considerably better outcomes on growth, and employment and inflation" in coming months.
"But that is an outlook," she told CNBC. "We are going to have to actually see that in the data … we have some distance to go" Brainard said, referring to job losses during the crisis.
Investors shrugged off news that several European countries had announced restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in younger people, after a link was found to very rare blood clots.
In equity news, shares in Johnson Matthey were up 1.5% as the company said annual performance would be around the top end of market expectations and announced a strategic review of its health business.
Anglo American stock climbed as the mining giant announced the demerger of its thermal coal operations in South Africa.
Dutch-based technology investment company Prosus was also higher after news it was selling a 2% stake in software group Tencent, worth about $15bn, in the biggest block trade on record.