European Shares Broadly Higher After Soft US Inflation

European stocks were broadly higher on Thursday as the outlook for more global stimulus got a major boost overnight from a surprisingly soft reading on core U.S. inflation and dovish comments by Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

Powell said he wanted to see inflation at 2 percent or more before even thinking of tapering the bank’s super-easy policies.

The pan European Stoxx 600 rose 0.3 percent to 410.63 after declining 0.2 percent on Wednesday.

The German DAX gained half a percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.2 percent while France’s CAC 40 index was marginally lower.

Unibail-Rodamco shares plunged as much as 14 percent. After posting a full-year net loss, the mall operator said it will not pay a dividend for three years.

Italian lender UniCredit lost 2.8 percent after posting a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Clariant declined 2.5 percent. After reporting lower sales for 2020, the Swiss specialty chemicals maker said the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to continue into 2021.

Life insurance company Aegon climbed 3.5 percent after its underlying earnings before tax for second half of fiscal 2020 rose 7 percent.

French food company Danone rallied 3 percent after U.S. investment group Artisan Partners added its voice to calls for structural change at the company.

Beverage company Pernod Ricard gave up 2 percent after reporting lower sales and earnings in the first half of its fiscal year.

Crédit Agricole S.A. jumped nearly 4 percent. The bank reported lower provisions and a larger-than-expected return to dividends.

Schneider Electric advanced 2.5 percent. The electrical equipment group proposed a dividend increase despite posting a decline in 2020 net profit.

German lender Commerzbank plummeted 6.2 percent after its net loss deepened to $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter.

British drug maker AstraZeneca gained 2 percent after it reported a 10 percent rise in product sales for 2020.

Postal service company Royal Mail soared 5 percent. The company reported a strong rise in parcel revenues over Christmas period and said it expects full-year group adjusted profit to be “well in excess” of £500m.

Total SE dropped 1.3 percent, BP Plc lost 1 percent and Royal Dutch Shell fell 1.7 percent as oil prices took a breather after enjoying the longest winning streak in two years.

In economic releases, U.K. house prices continued to increase while there was a general weaker trend in sales market at the start of the year, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said.

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