By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks climbed Wednesday, tracking gains for U.S. equity futures as investors on both sides of the Atlantic waited for the outcome of a Federal Reserve meeting.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +1.26% climbed 2% to 469.51, following a 0.7% gain on Tuesday, though the index has lost 1.2% in a week that has seen huge volatility. The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +1.38% and French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +1.17% jumped more than 2.5% each, and the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.67% rose 1.8%.
U.S. stocks were poised for a rally, led by the Nasdaq Composite, which Nasdaq Composite fell into correction territory last month — falling 10% from its November all-time high.
European equities have tracked roller coaster action seen recently on Wall Street that has had global ramifications. Driving the wild swings are concerns over a bumpy start to earnings reporting season, geopolitical tensions over Ukraine and ongoing COVID-19 issues, and chiefly apprehension around the potential for rising U.S. interest rates.
A two-day Federal Reserve meeting concludes on Wednesday, and while no tightening is expected, investors will be watching a news conference with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell closely for comments.
“The consensus going into tonight’s FOMC meeting is that financial conditions, including the steep correction in US equity markets, have now tightened sufficiently for the Fed to ease up on its hawkish guidance after a long string of hawkish surprises in recent months,” said Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, in a note to clients.
“Market expectations for the Fed funds rate by the end of this year have fallen about 10 basis points from the peak last week, so the market will need some evidence in today’s monetary policy statement and the Fed Chair Powell’s press conference that the Fed recognizes the impact it is having on markets and financial conditions,” said Garnry.
European investors will get a first chance to react to the Fed meeting’s outcome on Thursday morning.
Among the best-performing shares, banks were climbing, with heavily-weighted HSBC /zigman2/quotes/208272822/composite HSBC +2.11% /zigman2/quotes/203901799/delayed UK:HSBA +2.09% climbing more than 2% and Banco Santander /zigman2/quotes/205677933/delayed ES:SAN +3.86% /zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite SAN +5.59% and Lloyds Banking Group /zigman2/quotes/202285510/delayed UK:LLOY +2.08% up over 3% each.
Oil majors and tech stocks were also rising, with shares of BP and Shell climbing more than 3% each, ASML Holding /zigman2/quotes/210293876/composite ASML +4.09% /zigman2/quotes/206208657/delayed NL:ASML +4.05% up over 2% and ams /zigman2/quotes/204183137/delayed AT:AMS +0.69% stock climbing more than 5%.
Energy names rose alongside oil prices /zigman2/quotes/209723049/delayed CL00 -0.38% , which pushed back owards a seven-year high amid ongoing fears of a potential Russian attack on Ukraine.
Travel and tourism related stocks were also getting a solid boost on Wednesday, with shares of International Consolidated Airlines /zigman2/quotes/208070069/delayed UK:IAG +1.71% up more than 7% and InterContinental Hotels /zigman2/quotes/204459500/composite IHG +2.11% /zigman2/quotes/202865596/delayed UK:IHG +0.93% up more than 3%, and TUI /zigman2/quotes/206000695/delayed XE:TUI1 -3.81% /zigman2/quotes/207049334/delayed UK:TUI -2.53% up more than 5%. Wizz Air shares rose over 2% after the cut-rate airline said it would experience more losses ahead of a recovery driven by U.K. demand.