Business

European stocks higher as traders digest comments from Fed’s Powell; Metro up 12%

European markets opened in positive territory on Monday as investors react to comments from the head of the Federal Reserve on the U.S. central bank’s policy tightening path.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index traded 0.29 percent higher in morning trade, with all sectors in positive territory. In the U.K., markets are closed due to a bank holiday.

Looking across the benchmark, Germany’s Metro Group was the top performer, after Ceconomy said it was in talks to sell most of its 10 percent stake in the German wholesale retailer. Shares of Metro Group jumped 10 percent during morning deals.

Meanwhile in Asia, equities lifted as China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), reintroduced a policy adjustment called the “counter-cyclical factor,” aimed at keeping the yuan’s daily midpoint fixed to a relatively stable value. The move is seen as an attempt to support China currency amid accusations from U.S. President Donald Trump that it is a “currency manipulator.”

Market players also monitored news from Friday that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sees “further, gradual” rate hikes ahead.

Powell said at the Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming that the central bank would likely continue with its policy tightening if the economy continued to strengthen. Powell last week came under fire from Trump for the second time, saying in an interview with Reuters that he was “not thrilled” by the central bank’s raising of rates.

In geopolitical news, the U.S. is to impose sanctions on Russia on Monday, in solidarity with the U.K. over allegations Moscow was involved in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Meanwhile, traders were once again given a surprise from Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, after the billionaire announced on Friday a halt to his plan to take the electric car maker private. Tesla’s stock was hit with a rout after Musk tweeted his intention to take the company off the stock market earlier this month.

In corporate news, Fidessa Group and Sirius Minerals are reporting results on Monday.

On the data front, German Ifo business sentiment data is due and France is set to release unemployment figures.

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