LONDON – European stocks rallied on Thursday, following overnight gains in Asia-Pacific markets following a rise in US equity futures.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 gained 0.5% at the start of trade, with core resources adding 1.2% to lead gains as all sectors and major exchanges entered positive territory.
The momentum in European equities comes after an equally bullish Asia-Pacific overnight session, boosted by US trade; Asian stocks mostly rose on Thursday after the S&P 500 hit a record closing high on Wednesday.
U.S. equity futures have also risen in pre-market trading, suggesting Wall Street may extend the gains that have propelled the S&P 500 to record highs this week.
Investors appeared appeased in Wednesday’s session by the latest Fed meeting minutes, which showed officials plan to keep the pace of asset purchases steady for some time, as the central bank strives to support stable prices and maximum employment.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden spoke from Washington on Wednesday about his administration’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan that includes a corporate tax rate hike to 28%, and noted that he was prepared to negotiate the proposed increase in taxes.
European markets will be boosted by announcements from UK and EU drug regulators on Wednesday regarding the AstraZeneca / University of Oxford Covid vaccine.
Both regulators said that while a link between the vaccine and very rare blood clotting disorders is possible, the benefits of the vaccine always outweigh its risks. The UK has said it will give a different Covid vaccine to people under 30 in Britain out of caution.
UBS holds its annual general meeting on Thursday, while on the data front German industrial orders for February are expected.
There were few significant moves in stock prices early on, with Johnson Matthey rising 4.4% to the top of the Stoxx 600 after the UK chemicals company released a promising outlook for 2021.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, British insurer Direct Line Group slipped 4.6%.
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