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Europe stocks end higher amid signals of further rate hikes

Europe stocks

The Stoxx 600 closed 0.25 per cent higher, with all major bourses ending in positive territory

European stock markets were cautiously higher on Monday, coming off a losing week as hawkish comments from major central banks signalled further monetary policy tightening in 2023.

The Stoxx 600 closed 0.25 per cent higher, with all major bourses ending in positive territory. Oil and gas stocks led gains, finishing trade up 1.7 per cent, followed by insurance stocks, which were up 0.7 per cent.

The European Central Bank hiked its key interest rate from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent on Thursday and said it would look to shrink its balance sheet by around 15 billion euros ($15.9 billion) every month from March 2023 to the end of the second quarter. The ECB said rate hikes would need to continue ‘significantly at a steady pace.’

The Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank struck similar tones and also opted for 50 basis point hikes, matching the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on Wednesday. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also indicated that the central bank’s efforts to rein in inflation are far from over, and said policymakers will ‘have to stay at it.’

The moves led the Stoxx 600 to two consecutive sessions of sharp losses, taking the European blue chip index to a near-five week low.

Markets in Asia-Pacific retreated overnight on Monday as traders struggled to look past recession fears, while Chinese officials vowed to stabilize the country’s economy in 2023 and maintain ample liquidity in financial markets.

In the U.S., stock futures inched fractionally higher in early premarket trade on Monday, after Wall Street’s major averages posted their second consecutive week of losses for the first time since September.

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