Europe close: Stocks finish higher ahead of testimony from Fed's Powell
European shares finished mostly higher on Tuesday and at their best levels of the session, helped by positive comments from the European Central Bank chief and the continuing advance on Wall Street.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was ahead 0.37% to 456.90, alongside a rise of 0.29% on the German Dax to 15,648.97.
Boosting sentiment, ECB President, Christine Lagarde, said on Monday that the Eurozone and the US were "clearly in a different situation".
In the background, investors were still fretting over a recent more hawkish tone from US Federal Reserve officials over the pace of inflation and the timing of possible interest rate rises.
"The market continues to stand or fall by what Fed members say, and today will be no different," said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.
"Yesterday’s exuberance has cooled off ahead of Powell’s testimony tonight, but since this week appears to be mainly about walking back some of the views expressed in the FOMC it is likely a supportive atmosphere for risk assets will remain in place."
Nevertheless, in prepared remarks released ahead of his testimony at 1800 BST, Powell reiterated that the Fed was not unduly concerned that high inflation readings were permamnent.
“[As] transitory supply effects abate, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run goal,” he was expected to say.
In equity news, shares in Irish building materials group Kingspan topped the Stoxx, up almost 5%, after reporting that first-half profit and sales are set to be ahead of the previous year and 2019 as the momentum reported in April has continued into the second quarter.
Shares in Melrose Industries gained after the turnaround specialist said signs of recovery were in sight for its GKN aerospace division and that it was returning £730m in cash to shareholders from the sale of the Nortek business in April, with further payouts on the way.
DS Smith fell after reporting that the current financial year had started well as the packaging company posted a sharp drop in annual profit caused mainly by higher costs and lower prices during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
UK commercial property landlords British Land and Land Securities were also higher, on recovery hopes as the former confirmed plans to start construction on a new tower block in east London. Shopping centre owner Hammerson's shares were up on a read across, as were those of housebuilder Beazley.
Shares in consumer internet company Prosus fell despite posting strong operating profit and revenues.