Major European Markets Close Higher For 2nd Straight Day

European stocks closed higher on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session, as investors reacted favorably to the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, and announcement of fiscal stimulus by the British Finance Minister.

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak today announced a range of fiscal support measures to households hit by soaring bills, partly funded by the new windfall tax on oil & gas companies' profits.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.78%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.56%, Germany's DAX moved up 1.59% and France's CAC 40 surged up 1.78%. The Switzerland stock market was closed for Ascension Day holiday.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey closed notably higher.

Belgium and Iceland edged up marginally, while Czech Republic and Denmark ended weak.

In the UK market, Ocado Group shares soared 11.5%, buoyed by Rishi Sunak's stimulus announcement. News about expansion of the company's partnership with American retailer Kroger contributed as well to the stock's sharp climb.

Intermediate Capital Group, B&M European Value Retail, Next, JD Sports Fashion Group, Scottish Mortgage and Melrose Industries gained 5 to 7.6%.

Burberry Group, Associated British Foods, Royal Mail, Persimmon, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Hargreaves Lansdown, Airtel Africa, Whitbread, Taylor Wimpey, ABRDN, RS Group, IHG and RighMove also ended with sharp gains.

United Utilities drifted down more than 6.5%, weighed down by a drop in full-year profits.

Johnson Matthey shed about 3.7%. The specialty chemicals and sustainable technologies company has agreed to sell a portion of its Battery Materials business to chemicals and cathode active materials producer EV Metals Group Plc for GBP 50 million in cash plus a minority equity stake in the buyer.

SSE, Severn Trent, National Grid and Imperial Brands lost 2.2 to 4.6%. BT Group shed about 2.5% on news that Britain's business minister will launch a national security review of a deal by the telecoms group's biggest shareholder Patrick Drahi to increase his stake in BT to 18%.

In the French market, Faurecia and Valeo both gained more than 6.5%. WorldLine, Safran, Sodexo, LVMH, Airbus Group, Accor, Kering, Renault, Vinci, ArcelorMittal, Atos and Credit Agricole gained 3 to 5%.

Unibail Rodamco, Michelin, Dassault Systemes, Publicis Groupe, STMicroElectronics, L'Oreal, Veolia and AXA also rallied sharply.

In Germany, HelloFresh, Puma, Continental, Infineon Technologies, MTU Aero Engines, Bayer, Siemens, BASF, Adidas, BMW, Volkswagen and Zalando gained 2 to 6%.

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