European stocks extend gains at open

·1-min read

European stock markets climbed at the open Thursday following rallies in Asia, as the Federal Reserve moved closer to tapering its huge emergency stimulus.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 0.5 percent to 7,116.02 points.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX index won 0.8 percent to 15,632.35 points and the Paris CAC 40 advanced 0.8 percent to 6,687.12.

Stock markets have won back ground from last week's sharp falls thanks also to easing concerns over troubled Chinese property giant Evergrande.

Stock markets had tumbled over fears that the group could collapse, leading to possible contagion around the world.

Ratings agency Fitch on Thursday cut its growth forecast for China's economy this year citing a slowdown in the country's colossal property sector.

Focus was firmly on central banks, with the Bank of England updating markets later Thursday on its monetary policy.

It comes a day after the Fed said it expects to "soon" be ready to start unwinding stimulus put in place at the start of the pandemic via bond purchases -- a key driver of the global economic and equity rebound.

"With the Federal Reserve out of the way, attention now turns to the Bank of England and whether we will see a change of stance when it comes to the bond buying program," noted Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"No changes are expected, on the rate front, however it wouldn't be a surprise to see a reduction in the pace of bond purchases."

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