European markets open to close, Fed minutes, data and earnings

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LONDON — European stocks are expected to open higher on Thursday, building on gains in the previous session.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 71 points higher at 7,166, Germany’s DAX 91 points higher at 12,683, France’s CAC 40 up 51 points at 5,956, and Italy’s FTSE MIB 137 points higher at 20,955, according to data from IG.

European markets are set to build on gains seen on Wednesday, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 closing up by 1.7%. Tech, media and retail shares climbed over 3% to lead gains as almost all sectors and major bourses ended in positive territory.

Investors will be digesting the latest Fed minutes, released Wednesday, in which the central bank’s officials reiterated a tough stance against inflation, saying another 50- or 75-basis-point move would “likely be appropriate” at the July 26-27 meeting.

Federal Reserve officials recognized that a “more restrictive stance” in policy could be suitable if inflation doesn’t ease, even if it slows the economy, the meeting minutes said.

“Participants recognized that policy firming could slow the pace of economic growth for a time, but they saw the return of inflation to 2 percent as critical to achieving maximum employment on a sustained basis,” the document said.

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Overnight, Asia-Pacific markets were mostly higher on Thursday, while U.S. stock futures were flat on Thursday morning as investors digested the most recent meeting minutes from the Fed.

The European Central Bank will be publishing the minutes of its last meeting on Thursday while the Group of 20’s foreign ministers meet in Bali.

Sainsburys holds an annual general meeting and data releases include German industrial production figures for May.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this market report.

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