LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Thursday as traders reacted positively to comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve that it will continue to support the economy.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed up by around 0.4%, with retail shares adding 2.1% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses advanced.
The positive trend comes after the Fed said it will buy at least $120 billion of bonds each month "until substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee's maximum employment and price stability goals."
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also said on Wednesday that stock prices are not necessarily highly priced given how low interest rates are.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite opened at record highs on Thursday, boosted by hopes of Washington coming through on additional financial aid before the end of 2020.
Congressional leaders on Wednesday closed in on a $900 stimulus package that would include direct payments to individuals.
In Europe Thursday, the Bank of England kept its main lending rate at 0.1%, having earlier cut twice from 0.75% since the onset of the pandemic in March, and retained its target stock of asset purchases at £895 billion ($1.2 trillion).
In terms of individual share price action, British aviation firm Signature Aviation skyrocketed 40% to lead the Stoxx 600 after confirming it was in talks with Blackstone for a possible cash takeover offer of $5.17 a share.
At the other end of the index, Austrian chipmaker AMS slid nearly 5%.
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— CNBC.com staff contributed to this market report.