Energy companies climb as oil rallies 2.5%
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European stocks rallied the most since April in Wednesday's trade after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said interest rates don't have to rise all that much further.
A rally in oil stocks and a well-received trading update from Burberry also helped drive markets higher.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped 1.4% to 384.60, setting it on track for its highest close in two weeks and its biggest one-day percentage gain since April 24, according to FactSet data.
See:Republicans to press Yellen on Fed plans to reduce outsize role in economy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/republicans-to-press-yellen-on-fed-plans-to-reduce-its-outsized-role-on-us-economy-2017-07-11)
The pan-European benchmark was sent to intraday highs after the release of prepared congressional testimony by the Fed's Yellen. She said interest rate increases will be gradual, but that "the federal-funds rate would not have to rise all that much further to get to a neutral policy stance."
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See:Live blog and video of Yellen's testimony before House panel (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2017/07/12/live-blog-and-video-of-yellens-testimony-before-house-panel/)
Markets latched on the latter part of that statement, seen as alleviating fears the chairwoman would strike a more hawkish tone.
U.S. stocks also rose after the comments, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a record intraday high.
Yellen will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.
Read:Is Janet Yellen still calling the tune in financial markets? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-janet-yellen-still-calling-the-tune-in-financial-markets-2017-07-10)
(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-janet-yellen-still-calling-the-tune-in-financial-markets-2017-07-10)Comments from the Fed tend to be watched closely by investors in Europe, as any hints of the future of growth and interest rates in the world's largest economy can impact their portfolios.
Stock movers: In Europe, shares of Burberry Group PLC (BRBY.LN) (BRBY.LN) climbed 3.1% after the luxury retailer reported higher first-quarter comparable sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/burberrys-comparable-sales-lifted-by-china-2017-07-12-24853839) and underlying revenue.
Shares of other luxury goods companies rose, with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMUY) up 0.9% and Gucci-owner Kering SA (KER.FR) gaining 2.2%.
DNB ASA (DNB.OS) put on 5.5% after the Norwegian bank posted second-quarter earnings that easily beat forecasts.
Oil companies were also up, rising alongside higher oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-extends-gains-after-upbeat-us-production-data-2017-07-12) after the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported a much larger-than-expected drop (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-climbs-as-sources-say-api-data-show-us-crude-supply-down-more-than-8-million-barrels-2017-07-11) of 8.1 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies. Shares of BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) rose 2.6%, Repsol (REPYY) added 1.7% and Eni SpA (ENI.MI) picked up 2.4%.
On a downbeat note, shares of Amec Foster Wheeler PLC (AMFW.LN) tanked 5% after the U.K. Serious Fraud Office said it opened an investigation into the project management and services firm.
Pearson PLC (PSON.LN) slid 4.4%. Shares fell 5.1% Tuesday after the education and publishing company said it would sell its 22% stake in Penguin Random House for $1 billion to German media company Bertelsmann SE, its joint-venture partner.
Micro Focus International PLC (MCRO.LN) fell 7% after reporting lower revenue and net profit. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/micro-focus-adjusted-profit-rises-2017-07-12)
Indexes: The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index jumped 1.5% to 7,379.89 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-drives-higher-as-burberry-climbs-pound-declines-2017-07-12).
Germany's DAX 30 index rose 1.6% to 12,633.09, while France's CAC 40 climbed 1.8% to 5,230.95.
The euro was down at $1.1413 compared with $1.1468 on Tuesday. The shared currency rose against the dollar on Tuesday after Donald Trump Jr. released a series of email exchanges (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/donald-trump-jr-releases-emails-about-his-russian-lawyer-meeting-2017-07-11) about a June 2016 meeting to discuss potential incriminating information against Hillary Clinton.
Economic news: Unemployment in the U.K. fell to the lowest level since 1975 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-unemployment-rate-hits-lowest-since-1975-2017-07-12), coming in at 4.5% in the March-May period.
Real wages however, dropped by 0.5% in the three months to May, as consumer prices grew faster than salaries.
The pound erased an earlier loss and swung higher to buy $1.2867 compared with $1.2845 late Tuesday in New York.
Among eurozone data, industrial output for the area rose 1.3% in May, the fastest annual pace in more than five years (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/eurozone-industrial-output-picks-up-speed-2017-07-12-74853116).
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 12, 2017 10:18 ET (14:18 GMT)