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European Shares Seen Up On Fed Rate Cut Bets

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European stocks are likely to open higher on Thursday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said June's positive jobs report hasn't changed the Fed's economic outlook and the central bank stands ready to "act as appropriate".

Many analysts saw Powell's testimony as a clear endorsement for a rate cut amid increased economic uncertainties and muted inflation pressures.

When asked how large a cut could be made at the July 30 policy meeting, Powell answered the FOMC will look at "a full range of data."

The June FOMC minutes also showed increasing support for lowering rates amid increased economic uncertainties and muted inflation pressures.

Asian markets gained ground while the U.S. dollar sagged, helping lift gold prices to their highest level in over a week.

Oil futures extended overnight gains to hit a six-week high as a potential hurricane threatened crude output in the Gulf of Mexico and an incident involving a British tanker in the Middle East highlighted ongoing tensions.

In economic releases, U.K. house price balance improved unexpectedly in June as buyers for property increased for the first time since late 2006, data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed earlier in the day.

The house price balance rose to -1 percent in June from -9 percent in the previous month. The score was forecast to fall to -12 percent.

The Bank of England's Financial Stability Report and Powell's second day of testimony on Capitol Hill may attract some attention later today along with reports on consumer prices and weekly jobless claims.

U.S. stocks ended higher overnight as Powell's Congressional testimony helped revive rate cut hopes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 index briefly crossed the 3,000-point mark for the first time before closing half a percent higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.8 percent to hit a record closing high.

European markets edged lower on Wednesday as the EU cut its growth forecast and tensions in the British-American relationship moved center stage.

The pan European Stoxx 600 slid 0.2 percent. The German DAX dropped half a percent, while France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both edged lower by 0.1 percent.

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