LONDON — European stocks advanced on Thursday, building on gains in the previous session.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 added 1.5% in early trade, with autos climbing 3.8% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.
Tenaris shares gained more than 7% after Jefferies upgraded the Luxembourg-based steel pipe manufacturer’s stock to “buy” from “hold.”
At the bottom of the Stoxx 600, Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen fell more than 6% after a disappointing quarterly earnings report.
Sterling ticked higher on unconfirmed reports that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to resign on Thursday, after more than 50 resignations from his government in light of a string of scandals.
European markets building on gains seen on Wednesday, with the European blue chip index closing up by 1.7%. Tech, media and retail shares climbed over 3% to lead gains as almost all sectors and major bourses ended in positive territory.
Investors are digesting the latest Fed minutes, released Wednesday, in which the central bank’s officials reiterated a tough stance against inflation, saying another 50- or 75-basis-point move would “likely be appropriate” at the July 26-27 meeting.
Federal Reserve officials recognized that a “more restrictive stance” in policy could be suitable if inflation doesn’t ease, even if it slows the economy, the meeting minutes said.
“Participants recognized that policy firming could slow the pace of economic growth for a time, but they saw the return of inflation to 2 percent as critical to achieving maximum employment on a sustained basis,” the document said.
Overnight, Asia-Pacific markets were mostly higher on Thursday, while U.S. stock futures were flat on Thursday morning as investors digested the most recent meeting minutes from the Fed.
The European Central Bank will be publishing the minutes of its last meeting on Thursday while the Group of 20’s foreign ministers meet in Bali.
On the data front, German industrial production rose by less than expected in May, expanding by 0.2% month-on-month against a consensus forecast of 0.3%, and was down 1.5% year-on-year.
— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this market report.