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European Stocks Close Higher On Earnings Optimism

European stocks closed higher on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session with optimism about strong earnings outweighing concerns about inflation and policy tapering by the Federal Reserve.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting confirmed the central bank could start a gradual tapering of its asset purchases as soon as November.

Firm oil and copper prices pushed up energy and materials shares.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 1.2%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.92%, Germany's DAX jumped 1.4% and France's CAC 40 surged up 1.33%, while Switzerland's SMI gained 0.66%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden closed with sharp to moderate gains.

Czech Republic, Denmark and Turkey ended weak.

In the UK market, BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Anglo American Plc, Glencore, IAG, Intermediate Capital Group and Antofagasta gained 3 to 4%.

Burberry Group, Whitbread, Polymetal International, Next, Ashtead Group, Segro, Smith (DS), Johnson Matthey, Halma, Smith & Nephew, Experian, Scottish Mortgage and Pershing Square Holdings also rallied sharply.

Tesco and Admiral Group both ended lower by about 1.25%.

In the French market, ArcelorMittal, Kering, Schneider Electric, Cap Gemini, Teleperformance, Legrand, Saint Gobain, LOreal and LVMH gained 2 to 3%.

Publicis Group shares gained more than 2.5% after the company raised its outlook for 2021 after reporting 11.2% organic growth for the third quarter, with double-digit growth in all the regions.

In Germany, Siemens gained more than 3%. SAP, Infineon Technologies, Hello Fresh, Linde, Fresenius and Daimler climbed 2 to 2.8%. Zalando, Adidas, Vonovia, Bayer, Puma, Volkswagen and Siemens Healthineers also posted strong gains.

Sartorius shared declined more than 3%. Covestro, RWE and E.ON closed moderately lower.

Semiconductor firm ASML rallied nearly 4% and BE Semiconductor gained 3.7% after Taiwan chip giant TSMC's quarterly profit beat expectations.

Dutch navigation and digital mapping company TomTom climbed more than 4%, reversing early losses after warning of supply chain problems.

In economic news, Germany's top economic institutes upgraded economic growth projection for 2022 but lowered its projection for the current year citing supply bottlenecks in the manufacturing sector.

According to the economic forecast Autumn 2021, jointly prepared by the Ifo in Munich, the RWI in Essen, the DIW in Berlin, the IfW in Kiel and Halle's IWH, gross domestic product will grow 2.4% this year instead of 3.7% estimated in April.

The projection for 2022 was revised up to 4.8% from 3.9%. For 2023, growth is seen at 1.9%.

UK households' demand for secured lending is forecast to fall further in the fourth quarter, the Credit Conditions Survey from the Bank of England showed on Thursday.

Lenders said the demand for secured lending for house purchase decreased in the third quarter and was expected to drop further in the fourth quarter.

Data from the Federal Statistical Office showed Switzerland's producer and import prices increased in September, rising by 4.5% year-on-year. The producer price index increased 2.9% annually in September and import prices accelerated 8.1%.

On a monthly basis, producer and import prices increased 0.2% in September.

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