Draghi says unilateral trade policy moves are 'dangerous'

Reuters

Reuters

The Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed 1.1% to 376.62, the best close since February 28, FactSet data showed.

Building materials group CRH, the largest stock on the index, advanced 1.1 per cent to €27.49, while Origin Enterprises rose nearly 1 per cent to €5.85, after it reported a 12.6 per cent rise in operating profit in the first half of its financial year.

Eurozone stocks got a boost from the European Central Bank, with Frankfurt's DAX 30 adding 0.9% at 12,355.57 points and the Paris CAC 40 climbing 1.3% at 5,254.10 points.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had risen 1.0 per cent, while in Japan the Nikkei gained 0.5 per cent. The U.S. dollar increased to 0.9514 Swiss franc from 0.9436 Swiss franc, and it rose to 1.2902 Canadian dollars from 1.2927 Canadian dollars.

The Mexican peso last stood at 18.6900 per dollar, bouncing back from Wednesday's low of 18.90 while the Canadian dollar changed hands at C$1.2888 to the USA unit, off its eight-month low of C$1.3002 hit earlier this week.

What was driving the market?

The US dollar rose against other major peers on Thursday, as fears over a trade war briefly fades, with the US data reporting higher jobless claims.

In recent weeks the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi has made it clear that the devaluing USA dollar is strengthening the Euro considerably and is a concern, as he doesn't want the Euro to be overvalued which will halt rising inflation levels.

EURUSD - the break above 1.2370 has seen us edge higher with the next resistance back near the recent highs above the 1.2500 area. Gold traders are also awaiting further news on plans for U.S. tariffs on some imported goods.

However, the statement omitted any mention of the commitment to increase the size and duration of the programme if the economic outlook was to worsen. The bloc's economic growth did not gain positive momentum in the fourth quarter of 2017 either as final readings indicated yesterday.

In December, the European Central Bank forecasts called for inflation to hit 1.7 percent by 2020, still slightly short of the ultimate goal.

European Central Bank added that the Eurosystem will reinvest key payments from maturing securities acquired under the asset purchase program for a longer period of time after the end of its net asset purchases, and in any case for as long as necessary.

Trump is expected to announce by the end of this week tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the tariff order on Thursday, with an announcement planned for 3:30 p.m. "You have some people concerned that they're going to be put in place, then you get a headline overnight talking about countries that might receive exemptions". Today also sees the publication of the ECB's latest quarterly projections, which are said to show continued robust growth for the region.

John Lewis expect trading to be "volatile" in 2018/19
AC Milan midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura 'fascinated' by Premier League