European stocks higher as dovish Fed boosts sentiment; UK closed; Suez soars 19%

European stocks were higher on Monday as dovish U.S. monetary policy signals gave a boost to global risk assets.

Most major European bourses rose as global market players were betting supportive monetary policy measures will continue to buoy stocks despite the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the Federal Reserve, which has cut interest rates to zero and open-ended asset-purchasing program to support the economy, laid out an inflation policy framework that would keep rates lower for longer.

In the U.K., markets were closed Monday due to a public holiday.

Asia Pacific markets on Monday closed largely higher, with Japanese shares leading the gains amid the search for a replacement of longstanding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. News that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has bought stakes in five leading Japanese trading firms also helped sentiment. The deal is viewed as a long-term bet on the global economy.

Investors are still keeping an eye on coronavirus developments though, as global cases surpassed 25 million on Sunday. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S., Brazil and India have the highest number of infections, with the U.S. closing in on 6 million.

In corporate news, Swiss food and drink giant Nestle said it was buying U.S. peanut allergy treatment maker Aimmune Therapeutics, bolstering its health science portfolio. Nestle shares were marginally higher on Monday morning.

Telecom Italia shares were up 2.3% on Monday. The Italian state-backed telecommunications firm is close to agreeing a landmark deal with U.S. fund KKR that could lay the groundwork for plans to create a single ultrafast broadband network, Reuters reported.

Shares of the French utility Suez soared nearly 19% after Veolia offered to buy a stake in the company, which was seen as possibly leading to a full takeover.

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