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European stocks push higher, Fed supports; Dax up 0.76%

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Shutterstock photo - - European stocks pushed higher on Thursday, as global equity markets remained supported after the Federal Reserve said interest rates would remain low for some time.

During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 1.12%, France's CAC 40 climbed 0.91%, while Germany's DAX advanced 0.76%.

At the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, the Fed cut its bond purchases by another $10 billion a month, to $35 billion, saying there was "sufficient underlying strength" in the U.S. economy to continue tapering.

Despite this, the Fed also lowered its forecast for growth this year to a range of 2.1% to 2.3% from 2.8 to 3.0% previously, due to "unexpected contractions" in the first quarter as a result of the unusually harsh winter. The central bank still acknowledged a broad improvement in the labor market.

The Fed said it expects the federal-funds rate, currently close to zero, to reach 1.2% by the end of next year and 2.5% by the end of 2016, a slightly faster rate of tightening than formerly expected.

Financial stocks remained broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (PARIS:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PARIS:BNPP) advanced 2.04% and 0.81%, while Germany's Deutsche Bank (XETRA:DBKGn) climbed 0.85%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo (MILAN:ISP) and Unicredit (MILAN:CRDI) rallied 1.43% and 1.76% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MADRID:SAN) and BBVA (MADRID:BBVA) surged 1.82% and 2.18%.

Elsewhere, L'Oreal (PARIS:OREP) saw shares jump 1.18% after the company on Wednesday agreed to acquire Los Angeles-based NYX Cosmetics for an undisclosed price to boost its makeup offerings in North America.

In London, FTSE 100 gained 0.72%, still led by Rolls-Royce (LONDON:RR), up 6.04%, after the luxury carmaker said it will buy back £1 billion worth of company stock after agreeing to sell energy assets to Siemens (XETRA:SIEGn).

Mining stocks added to gains, as Glencore Xstrata (LONDON:GLEN) jumped 0.99% and Rio Tinto (LONDON:RIO) rallied 1.24%, while rivals Vedanta Resources (LONDON:VED) and Bhp Billiton (LONDON:BLT) surged 1.52% and 1.89% respectively.

In the financial sector, stocks remained mostly higher. Shares in HSBC Holdings (LONDON:HSBA) advanced 0.76% and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LONDON:RBS) gained 0.71%, while Barclays (LONDON:BARC) climbed 1.20%. Lloyds Banking (LONDON:LLOY) held steady, dipping 0.03%.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a steady open. The Dow 30futures pointed to a 0.05% gain, S&P 500futures signaled a 0.05% uptick, while the Nasdaq 100futures indicated a 0.13% rise.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to publish the weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as a report on manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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