European stocks rally on central bank decisions; DAX jumps 1.13%

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    Investing.com - European stocks opened sharply higher on Thursday, supported by the Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decisions.

    During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.86%, France's CAC 40 advanced 0.94%, while Germany's DAX 30 jumped 1.13%.

    Global equities were boosted after the Fed left interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of its policy meeting on Wednesday.

    In addition, the Fed cut the number of rate increases it expects this year to one from two and projected a less aggressive rise in interest rates next year and in 2018.

    However, the U.S. central bank signaled that it could tighten monetary policy before the end of the year if the job market continued to improve.

    The decision came after the BoJ refrained from cutting interest rates further into negative territory or expanding its asset purchase program, instead switching to targeting interest rates as a way to reach its inflation target.

    Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) gained 0.64% and 0.71%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) advanced 0.79%.

    Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) climbed 0.69%, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MC:SAN) and BBVA (MC:BBVA) rallied 0.95% and 1.04% respectively.

    Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller - Maersk A (CO:MAERSKa) added to gains, with shares up 1.37% after it announced extensive reorganization plans.

    On the downside, EDF (PA:EDF) shares plummeted 2.78% after the French nuclear power utility said it was lowering its 2016 earnings expectations.

    In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.57%, boosted by sharp gains in the mining sector.

    Mining giants Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) and Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) jumped 3.00% and 3.71%, while rivals Fresnillo (LON:FRES) and BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) surged 4.03% and 4.57% respectively.

    Meanwhile, financial stocks were broadly lower. Shares in Barclays (LON:BARC) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) dropped 0.48% and 0.51% respectively, while Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) slid 0.48% and HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) tumbled 2.02%.

    Centrica Plc (LON:CNA) was also on the downside, with shares retreating 0.93% after analysts at Jefferies Group downgraded the stock's rating to "underperform", while analysts at Liberum Capital reiterated their "sell" rating on Pearson (LON:PSON) Plc, sending shares down 1.98%.

    In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.01% dip, S&P 500 futures showed a 0.02% downtick, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.03% gain.

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