European stocks higher after Yellen speech – CNBC

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European markets opened higher on Wednesday following dovish comments by U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.7 percent.

European markets followed a positive lead set in Asia overnight after remarks from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen eased concerns about a near-term interest rate hike.

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday, Yellen noted in prepared remarks that it is appropriate for policymakers to proceed “cautiously.”

She noted recent readings on the strength of the U.S. economy since the beginning of the year have been mixed. On the policy front, she said research suggests that, with a funds rate at zero and increased uncertainty, the best policy is greater gradualism. Still, the Fed can hike if the economy grows faster, she said.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s shares retreated after industrial output data showed fragile factory activity due to sluggish demand both at home and abroad. Reuters reported that industrial output fell 6.2 percent on-month in February, compared with a expectations from a Reuters poll for a 6 percent decline.

In other news, Volkswagen‘s ‘clean diesel’ advertising campaign could put the carmaker on the line for fines topping $15 billion after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission launched a new lawsuit on Tuesday.

India’s Tata Steel, which is Britain’s largest steelmaker, is considering the sale of its entire UK business to stem heavy losses, Reuters reported, in a move that would draw a line under its almost decade-long foray into Britain.

European stocks higher after Yellen speech – CNBC