European stocks end higher

LONDON – Europe’s major stock markets firmed on Wednesday, closing higher ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s decision on borrowing costs in the world’s biggest economy.

Investors were waiting on the US central bank’s announcement, scheduled for 1800 GMT and set to signal the next step for US interest rates. “European stocks are putting in a robust performance as investors pile in ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision later today,” said analyst Manoj Ladwa at brokerage TJM Partners in London.

“Given recent weak economic data, market participants are expecting the Fed to hold its hand. But any shock announcement is likely to send the markets into a tailspin,” he said.

At the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 the Fed slashed interest rates to near zero to stimulate growth, and introduced an unprecedented bond-buying scheme that effectively kept long-term borrowing costs down.

 

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