A dealer reacts on the trading floor at financial spread betting company IG Index in London. The benchmark FTSE 100 index yesterday closed up 0.61% to 6,374.82 points.
Europe’s main stock markets pushed their way higher yesterday for a fifth straight session, even as cautious investors awaited direction on the outlook for US interest rates.
The US Federal Reserve was set to release the minutes of its last monetary policy meeting with analysts looking for signs on whether it would raise interest rates starting this year or next.
The Bank of England revealed yesterday it would keep its main interest rate at the record-low 0.5%, where it has stood for six-and-a-half years to support growth.
While both the Fed and BoE are looking to raise interest rates amid expectations of higher inflation in the US and Britain, a slowdown in China has put pressure on central bankers to delay any hikes to borrowing costs.
European stock markets have risen in recent days, supported by expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off from hiking US interest rates until at least next year in the wake of disappointing jobs data in the world’s biggest economy.
Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at research group Capital Economics, noted that “the MPC’s decision to leave interest rates on hold again would have been an easy one given the recent softening in both domestic and global economic news”.
In minutes of its last meeting released yesterday, the European Central Bank reiterated its commitment to its bond-buying stimulus programme (QE), while adding that more time was needed to assess the impact of a slowdown in China and other emerging markets.
Analysts say the eurozone’s central bank may turn to more stimulus before the end of the year given the slowing growth in the global economy.
In foreign exchange, the euro rose to $1.1282 from $1.1237 late on Wednesday in New York.
In stock trades yesterday, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up 0.61% to 6,374.82 points compared with Wednesday’s close.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 climbed 0.23% to end at 9,993.07 points and the Paris CAC 40 rose 0.18% to finish at 4,675.91 points.
US stocks however were mostly lower ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting minutes.
Near mid-day in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up a slight 0.08% at 16,926.62 points.
But the broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.22% to 1,991.35, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.89% at 4,749.50.
On Europe’s corporate front, the world’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, urged shareholders at rival beer giant SABMiller to go against their board and accept a new takeover offer.
SABMiller rejected on Wednesday an improved $103bn bid from AB InBev, arguing that its third effort was still too low.
Following the latest move, the share price of SABMiller in London closed up 0.22% to 3,641 pence, while AB InBev lost 1.17% to €97.50.
The latest offer was priced at £42.15 per SABMiller share.
In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank stock plunged 1.77% at €25.03 as Germany’s biggest lender braced its employees for bonus cuts—after it announced its biggest quarterly loss in about a decade and warned that dividends could be scrapped.