European stocks close at record highs after Fed and Bank of England announcements

FILE PHOTO: Styrofoam bulls on a counter on the parquet floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Germany. January 7, 2016. REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach

For Anisha Sircar and Shreyashi Sanyal

Nov 4 (Reuters) – European stocks rose for the fifth straight session on Thursday to hit record highs as investors took comfort in the signal from the Federal Reserve that it was in no rush to raise interest rates, while the Bank of England left its benchmark rate at a record low.

* The pan-European STOXX 600 Index closed 0.4% higher after spending most of the day in positive territory after the Fed, as expected, said it would begin reducing its monthly bond purchases in November with plans to finish them next year.

* “What we’ve heard from the Fed is that next year central banks are going to let go of the accelerator, but they won’t hit the brakes,” said Hugh Gimber, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

* The European Central Bank also signaled Wednesday that it was in no rush to tighten monetary policy.

* Meanwhile, the Bank of England caught investors by surprise as it kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged, hitting the British pound and boosting London’s FTSE 100 index by 0.4%.

* The Eurozone measure of volatility fell to its lowest level since mid-June.

* The gains in the STOXX 600 were led by a 2.3% advance in real estate stocks following a takeover bid for German real estate company Alstria Office REIT AG by Canadian investment firm Brookfield.

* German benchmark DAX rose 0.4%, hitting a record, after strong gains from Deutsche Post led its shares to climb 3.0%.

(Report by Anisha Sircar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru, Edited in Spanish by Manuel Farías)

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