European stocks rise as central banks pledge easy monetary policy

Global stock markets took comfort as US Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed a dovish monetary policy stance

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

European stocks rose to near all-time highs on Wednesday as a host of central bank policymakers pledged to keep monetary policy loose despite recent signs of an uptick in inflation.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.3 per cent by 0711 GMT, with Germany’s DAX up 0.4 per cent, France’s CAC 40 rising 0.3 per cent and UK’s FTSE 100 adding 0.2 per cent.

British retailer Marks & Spencer jumped 5.5 per cent despite reporting an 88 per cent slump in full-year profit, reflecting a collapse in clothing sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and warning investors not to expect a dividend in the current year. But it said it was making progress with its turnaround plan, had traded well in the early weeks of the 2021-22 year and that profits would recover, sending its battered shares higher.

French food company Danone slipped 1.6 per cent after Berenberg downgraded the stock to “sell”, citing the hard-to-fix low-growth nature of most of its categories.

Global stock markets took comfort as US Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed a dovish monetary policy stance, while European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta said the bank should not reduce the pace of asset purchases from next month. – Reuters