European Shares Mostly Higher As Powell Hints At Smaller Rate Hikes

European stocks were broadly higher on Thursday, with Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s dovish remarks on the pace of rate hikes and signs of easing COVID curbs in China helping underpin investor sentiment.

Powell said on Wednesday it was time to slow down U.S. rate rises but warned that interest rates could peak at higher-than-expected levels due to stubborn inflation in the country.

The pan European STOXX 600 climbed 0.6 percent to 442.74, the German DAX rose 0.3 percent and the U. K’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.2 percent while France’s CAC 40 index was marginally lower, giving up earlier gains.

Tech stocks led the surge, with Infineon Technologies rising 2 percent and ASM International climbing 5 percent.

Valneva SE shares jumped nearly 4 percent in Paris. Pfizer Inc. and the French biotech company reported today six-month antibody persistence data for Lyme disease vaccine candidate VLA15 in both children and adults.

Belgian biopharmaceutical company UCB lost 5 percent after JPMorgan cut its target price on the stock.

Energy stocks fell as oil prices dipped amid uncertainty about OPEC’s decision on production at the Sunday meeting. BP Plc dropped 1 percent and Shell lost 1.4 percent.

Lender HSBC declined 1.2 percent after it agreed to sell its business in Canada to Royal Bank of Canada.

Online grocer Ocado jumped almost 7 percent after launching a new supplier insights product to help drive sales and increase revenue.

Components maker Essentra rose over 2 percent after buying Wixroyd Group, a supplier of industrial parts for the engineering sector.

In economic releases, investors looked past data showing that German retail sales fell more than expected in October as a result of concerns surrounding inflation.

Retail sales contracted by 5 percent year-on-year in October, the federal statistics office said. That was well below forecasts for a 2.8 percent decline. Sales fell 2.8 percent month-on-month.

U.K. house prices fell the most since June 2020 reflecting the loss of momentum in the property market amid the stretched housing affordability, data published from the Nationwide Building Society showed.

House prices dropped by a more-than-expected 1.4 percent on a monthly basis in November, after easing 0.9 percent in October.

The Eurozone manufacturing PMI stood at 47.1 in November, up from October’s 46.4 but down from a preliminary estimate of 47.3.

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