European markets remained upbeat on Thursday as investors assessed the latest meeting minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.5% provisionally, with a third straight session of gains taking it to a more than three-month high. Chemicals stocks added 1.1% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses edged into positive territory.
Minutes from the Fed’s November meeting signaled that the central bank is seeing progress in its fight against high inflation and is looking to slow the pace of rate hikes, meaning smaller ones through the end of this year and into 2023.
“A substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate,” the minutes stated.
European investors also reacted to Wednesday’s flash November PMI (purchasing managers’ index) readings from the euro zone, which reaffirmed that the 19-member currency bloc has entered recession, but showed the downturn in business activity slowing slightly.
Overnight, markets in the Asia-Pacific traded higher, reacting positively to the Fed saying it expected to switch to smaller rate hikes “soon.”
U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
European markets log third session of gains
European markets closed higher for a third straight session, with the Stoxx 600 index gaining 0.5% on Thursday.
The FTSE 100 was flat while France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.4% and Germany’s DAX added 0.8%. By sector, gains were led by the chemicals sector, up 1.1%.
The best-performing stock was LEG Immobilien German property company, which rose 6.7% after Morgan Stanley upgraded it to “overweight.”
Global markets have been cheered by indications that the U.S. Federal Reserve is looking to slow the pace of interest rate hikes, while in Europe, PMI data this week showed the euro zone’s downturn in business slowed slightly.