European Shares Rebound With Focus On Lagarde Speech

European stocks traded higher on Friday after two straight days of declines on concerns about the impact of China’s “zero-COVID” strategy and indications that the U.S. Federal Reserve will keep raising rates to fight inflation.

Closer home, the European Central Bank will keep raising rates as withdrawing accommodation may not be enough to curb inflation, ECB President Christine Lagarde said in a speech at a conference.

The pan European STOXX 600 was up 0.7 percent at 431.57 after declining 0.4 percent on Thursday.

The German DAX climbed 0.8 percent, France’s CAC 40 index surged 0.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent.

Regional banks traded mostly higher as the European Central Bank begins the biggest withdrawal of cash from the euro zone’s banking system in its history.

British insurance giant Legal & General rallied 3.4 percent after backing its FY22 operating profit view.

Bodycote added 1.4 percent. After reporting strong revenue growth in its third quarter, the heat treatment and thermal processing services specialist said it expects its full-year performance to meet market expectations.

The dollar edged lower in early European trade but was still heading for a weekly gain following recent hawkish Fed comments.

Oil pared early gains and was on track for a steep weekly decline on concerns about weakening demand in China.

In economic news, U.K. retail sales volumes advanced 0.6 percent on a monthly basis in October, faster than the expected growth of 0.3 percent, data from the Office for National Statistic showed.

The monthly growth reversed the revised 1.5 percent decrease in September, which was affected by the bank holiday for the State Funeral.

Year-on-year, the decline in retail sales slowed to 6.1 percent from 6.8 percent in September.

Separately, survey results from market research group Gfk revealed that consumer confidence improved in November for the second straight month.

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