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European stocks scale all-time highs after Fed holds stance

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European stocks scale all-time highs after Fed holds stance 1

(Reuters) -European stocks hit record highs on Thursday as optimism grew around a global stimulus-fuelled economic rebound after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled that it was in no hurry to tighten its monetary policy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3%, according to Google Finance data, adding to gains notched earlier this week when the index erased all of its pandemic-driven losses.

Fed officials remain wary about the ongoing risks of the coronavirus pandemic and are committed to bolstering the economy until its recovery is more secure, minutes of the central bank’s latest policy meeting released on Wednesday showed.

“A dovish set of meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve has further reassured investors that Jay Powell and the gang won’t be turning off the stimulus taps any time soon,” Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spredex, wrote in a morning note.

Market participants will now turn their focus to the European Central Bank, which is expected to release its March meeting minutes at 1130 GMT.

Investors broadly looked past news that several European countries had announced restrictions on the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in younger people, after a link was found to very rare blood clots.

The British drugmaker’s shares climbed 1.3%.

Holland-based technology investor Prosus NV rose slightly after it sold 2% of China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd for $14.7 billion in the world’s largest-ever block trade.

Chemicals maker Johnson Matthey jumped almost 4% after it forecast annual profit at the top end of market expectations and said it had started a strategic review of its health business.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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