European stocks traded higher today (April 9th) as investors focused in the Federal Reserve policy and a surge in Hong Kong.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.8 per cent in early afternoon, on course for its best close since July 2007, while the broader Stoxx 600 was also up 0.8 per cent to a record 407.8.
Traders are speculating about when the US Fed may start raising interest rates after minutes of the central bank’s March meeting released yesterday showed policymakers were split about the right timing for an interest rate hike.
"We can conclude that most [Fed members] believe the second half of this year is the appropriate timing for lift-off," Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ told the Financial Times.
Surge in Hong Kong
"That is exactly the thinking of the market now with the probability of a June rate increase now close to zero per cent with one full increase nearly in the price by December."
Sentiment was further boosted by a surge in Hong Kong, which rocketed for a second consecutive day as investors seek to capitalise on the Stock Connect scheme with Shanghai.
The Hang Seng Index closed up 2.7 per cent at 26,944.39, after a 3.80 per cent hike yesterday. Stocks in Hong Kong could go higher, Credit Suisse told MarketWatch, given that the Hang Seng Index is still a "fair value" at 11 times price-to-earnings.
Investors are also focusing on the Greek situation. The eurozone said only six working days are left for Greece to come up with a revised list of reforms.
Eurozone deputy finance ministers want an agreement on the €7.2 billion loan before a Eurogroup meeting on April 24th.
This comes after the Greek government asked Germany for €278.7 billion (£204 billion) in war reparations for the Nazi occupation during World War II, ahead of a €450 million loan repayment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today.
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