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European stocks rose to the highest level in more than five years as the Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided against slowing the pace of its monthly bond purchases. U.S. index futures and Asian shares advanced.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rallied 1 percent to 316.26, the highest level since June 2008, at 10:18 a.m. in London. The equity benchmark has gained 6.4 percent so far this month, extending its advance this year to 13 percent, as central banks pledged to maintain stimulus measures to support the global economy.
The Fed yesterday refrained from reducing its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases, saying it needs to see more indications that the U.S. economy is improving sustainably. Economists surveyed before the decision had predicted that the central bank would start tapering stimulus measures this month.
“Conditions in the job market today are still far from what all of us would like to see,” Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said at a press conference in Washington after European markets closed. “The committee has concern that rapid tightening of financial conditions in recent months would have the effect of slowing growth.”
Bernanke reiterated that a decision on slowing the pace of asset purchases would depend on economic data, and that the Fed has no set timetable. The central bank repeated its guidance that its target interest rate will remain low for at least as long as unemployment exceeds 6.5 percent, and the outlook for inflation is no higher than 2.5 percent.
UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank, climbed 3 percent to 4.95 euros. Standard Chartered added 3.6 percent to 1,568.5 pence. A gauge of European lenders increased 1.2 percent, extending its rally since a June 24 low to 21 percent.
Randgold jumped 7.7 percent to 4,822 pence as gold extended yesterday’s biggest gain in more than 15 months. Polymetal surged 11 percent to 724 pence, the largest advance since July 11. Fresnillo Plc, which produces gold and silver in Mexico, rallied 4.4 percent to 1,052 pence.
Richemont, owner of the Cartier brand, climbed 2.4 percent to 94.90 Swiss francs as a report showed watch exports rose 0.5 percent in August from a year earlier. Swatch, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, gained 2.2 percent to 599.50 francs.
FTSE 100 6,656.03 +97.21 +1.48%
CAC 40 4,218.57 +48.17 +1.16%
DAX 8,737.36 +101.30 +1.17%
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