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DAX Edges Higher On Growth Optimism

German stocks edged up slightly on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sent out a dovish message in his second day of testimony before a congressional committee.

Positive developments on the vaccine front also boosted hopes for a faster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

On the data front, German consumer confidence is set to improve in March, survey results from the market research group GfK showed earlier in the day.

The forward-looking consumer sentiment index rose more-than-expected to -12.9 in March from revised -15.5 in the previous month. The expected level was -14.3.

"Consumers are recovering somewhat from the shock that hit them after the hard lockdown in mid-December," Rolf Bürkl, GfK consumer expert, said.

The benchmark DAX inched up 24 points, or 0.2 percent, to 14,000 after gaining 0.8 percent the previous day.

Banks advanced, with Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank both climbing around 3 percent.

Reinsurance group Munich Re gained 0.8 percent. The company expects net profit to bounce back this year after more than halving in 2020.

Pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate Bayer slumped 4 percent after reporting fall in fourth-quarter profit and sales.

Aixtron shares surged 14 percent. The provider of deposition equipment to the semiconductor industry reported slightly higher net result and revenue for the full year 2020 and said it expects stronger growth in 2021.

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