London: European shares resumed an uptrend on Thursday, bouncing back from a pullback a day earlier, with investors awaiting comments from the European Central Bank for clues on its monetary policy outlook after the bank raised rates as expected.
By 5:22pm, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares was up 0.5% at 1,124.39 points. The index has risen for the last eight out of nine sessions, resulting in a 4.5% gain over the period.
In widely-anticipated decisions, the Bank of England kept interest rates on hold at 0.5%, while the European Central Bank (ECB) raised rates to 1.50%.
Attention now turns to a news conference by ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet at 4:00pm, for signs of a rate outlook for the rest of the year and views on the euro zone economy.
“The market will look for clues (from Trichet) on whether there could be more rate rises in the pipeline,” said Anita Paluch, sales trader at ETX Capital.
“We have also seen economic indicators showing a slight weakening and people will look to whether the ECB thinks of this as a soft patch or something more prevalent,” she said, adding that Trichet is also likely to comment on private sector involvement in debt restructuring, collateral rules and the role of ratings agencies in the crisis.
Mining shares were among the heavyweight gainers, with the STOXX Europe 600 basic resources index up 1.5%, rising in tandem with copper prices which hit a two-month high on supply disruptions.
Later in the session, investors will focus on the ADP national employment report at 1215 GMT, which comes ahead of Friday’s closely-watched U.S. nonfarm payroll data.
ADP figures are expected to show US private hiring increased 68,000 in June after 38,000 in May.
“The ADP will be used to predict what non-farm payrolls could be tomorrow. The market could turn more sensitive to any economic data that comes out,” said Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index.