Europe Markets

European markets hit record highs as investors react to Fed minutes

Share
Key Points
  • The upward momentum for European stocks comes after similarly upbeat trading in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.
  • On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to another record high on Thursday amid a strong rally in major technology stocks, while Asian stocks closed mostly higher.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Thursday, tracking gains overseas following dovish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 gained 0.6% by the end of the session, having earlier hitting record highs. Food and beverage shares added 1.6% to lead the gains as most sectors and major bourses finished in positive territory.

The upward momentum for European stocks comes after similarly upbeat trading in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose to another record high on Thursday amid a strong rally in major technology stocks, while Asian stocks closed mostly higher.

Investors appeared placated during Wednesday's session by the Fed's latest meeting minutes, which showed that officials plan to keep the pace of asset purchases the same for some time, as the central bank works to support stable prices and maximum employment.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday from Washington about his administration's $2 trillion infrastructure plan that includes a corporate tax rate hike to 28%, and noted that he is willing to negotiate on the proposed tax increase.

On the data front, German industrial orders rose in February on the back of strong domestic demand, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed.

There were few significant share price moves on Thursday, with Spanish pharmaceutical company Grifols climbing 4.5% to lead the Stoxx 600 while British insurer Direct Line Group fell 5.1%.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.