European Shares Seen Up Even As Fed Minutes Signal More Rate Hikes

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European stocks are likely to open on a positive note Thursday after the U.S. Fed's minutes from the January 31-February 1 meeting contained no new surprises.

The minutes showed that almost all participants backed a 25-bps hike at the meeting, but a few favored raising rates by 50 basis points to achieve price stability in a timely way.

Asian markets traded mostly higher and U.S. equity futures edged up as investors reprice their interest-rate expectations.

The Fed's next monetary policy meeting is scheduled for March 21-22, with CME Group's FedWatch Tool currently indicating a 79.0 percent chance of another 25-basis point rate hike and a 21.0 percent chance of a 50-basis point rate hike.

With a tight labor market contributing to continuing upward pressures on wages and prices, trading later in the day may be impacted by reaction to the weekly jobless claims report.

Gold edged up slightly as the dollar saw some profit taking. Oil prices were also moving higher after falling by $2 per barrel to their lowest in two weeks on Wednesday.

U.S. stocks fluctuated before eventually ending on a mixed note overnight after the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting.

The Dow eased 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 inched down 0.2 percent to close at one-month lows, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.1 percent.

European stocks ended Wednesday's session mostly lower as investors pondered the outlook for rates and economic growth.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.3 percent ahead of the publication of FOMC minutes.

The German DAX finished marginally higher, while France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gave up 0.6 percent.

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