(Reuters) – Retail stocks surged after good results from Inditex, owner of Zara, on Wednesday, but the session was mixed for the wider European market, with the UK export-heavy FTSE 100 hit by a stronger pound.
Investors were waiting to hear from the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to conclude its latest policy meeting with somewhat rosier economic forecasts, but a renewed commitment to keep interest rates low for as long as the US needs to stay. recover from a recession caused by a pandemic. .
The policy announcement is due at 6:00 p.m. GMT, and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is due to hold a virtual media briefing half an hour later.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX closed 0.6% higher, gaining for the fourth session in a row, while Britain’s main FTSE 100 .FTSE 0.4% decline and the euro zone blue-chip index .STOXX50E gained 0.2%.
“Whatever the Fed says, the reality is that there is more monetary stimulus to come anyway,” said Edmund Shing, global head of equity derivatives strategy at BNP Paribas. “It doesn’t change that longer term narrative about equities that I think is the real driver.”
Inditex from Spain ITX.MC was a featured player after saying that current commerce has shown a gradual return to normalcy, with strong growth in online sales and a resumption in store sales. Its shares jumped 8.1%, while the broader retail sector .SXRP increased by 1.3%.
Shares listed in Madrid .IBEX jumped 1%, also benefiting from news that Caixabank CABK.MC and Bankia BKIA.MC are set to approve a deal on Thursday that will create Spain’s largest domestic lender. Bank stocks rose 1.3% and 4.3% respectively.
Despite a gloomy session in UK markets, shares in e-commerce company The Hut Group THG.L jumped 25% in the first major UK IPO in seven years.
Signs of compromise have appeared on the Brexit front, with Reuters reporting that Britain offered provisional fishing concessions in trade talks with the European Union last week, as London threatened to violate the terms of its divorce agreement with the block.
German logistics group Deutsche Post AG DPWGn.DE rose 1.9% and the British Royal Mail RMG.L gained 5.3% after strong profits from US delivery company FedEx Corp FDX.N.
Handelsbanken from Sweden SHBa.ST rose 2.4% after revealing plans to close nearly half of its branches and cut about 1,000 jobs over the next two years.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; edited by Anil D’Silva and Mark Potter