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European stocks set to snap 4-day losing streak after Fed minutes

European’s benchmark stock index surged for the first time in five sessions on Thursday, with resource companies leading the charge higher on hopes the U.S. Federal Reserve won’t raise rates this year.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.5% to 342.16, partly recovering from a 0.8% drop on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s weakness came as investors feared the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s July would signal a rate hike could happen as soon as September. However, the meeting account out after the European market closed on Wednesday showed the central bank officials remain split over whether a rate increase is needed soon.

The less-hawkish-than-expected minutes sent the dollar lower and boosted commodity prices and helped lift Europe’s big resource companies. Shares of BHP Billiton PLC climbed 2.8%, Anglo American PLC gained 2.9% and Boliden ABadded 1.4%.

Among other big movers, shares of Vestas Wind Systems AS rallied 9.1% after the wind turbine maker upgraded its full-year sales and earnings guidance on better-than-expected second-quarter results.

Nestlé SA advanced 1.2% after the maker of Kit Kat candy bars, Perrier mineral water and DiGiorno frozen pizza said sales are strong in North America.

Shares of Kingfisher PLC rose 2% after the British do-it-yourself chain said sales rose 8.4% in the second quarter and that it hasn’t seen any clear impact from the Brexit vote. The shares were also lifted by much better-than-expected U.K. retail sales.

The Office for National Statistics said retail sales rose 1.4% in July compared with June, dispelling fears the Brexit uncertainty is deterring shoppers.

“There is no stopping the British shopper. We’re seeing strong bid for sterling after today’s retail sales figures smashed expectations, signaling that consumers are not reining in their spending in the wake of the Brexit vote,” said Neil Wilson, market analyst at ETX Capital, in a note.

“Warm weather and a deluge of tourists drawn by the cheaper pound no doubt played their part, but this is clearly a very positive sign for the U.K. economy,” he added.

The data boosted the pound to $1.3155 from around $1.3075 ahead of the report. Against the euro, sterling jumped to €1.1619, from an intraday low of €1.1531.

Indexes: The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index put on 0.2% to 6,873.88, staying higher after the ONS numbers.

Germany’s DAX 30 index climbed 0.4% to 10,582.77, while France’s CAC 40 index gained 0.2% to 4,427.62.

Other data: Unemployment in France dropped below 10% during the second quarter for the first time in almost four years.

Eurozone inflation rose to 0.2% in July from 0.1% in June, according to the final reading from Eurostat.

Source: MarketWatch

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