Monday 23 October 2017

European shares edge higher as hopes rise for stimulus

EUROPEAN shares edged higher today, after hitting a one-month high in the previous session, with investors eyeing a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve in the hope it will announce fresh monetary stimulus measures to support the economy.

At 0717 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.1 percent at 1,010.39 points after surging 1.6 percent to a one-month high in the previous session.

Focus remained on the Fed which concludes a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday. Some investors expect that it will extend its bond-buying programme dubbed "Operation Twist", in which the Fed sells bonds with maturities of three years or less and buys securities with maturities of six years and longer.

The programme, aimed at pushing down longer-term interest rates to shield the still-fragile economy, expires this month.

"The 'Operation Twist' is more likely than any measures in terms of printing new money or a further round of quantitative easing, but with bond yields as low as they are at the long end, I don't see that having much economic significance," Gerard Lane, strategist at Shore Capital, said.

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