- Fed keeps interest rates low, cuts QE
- US jobless claims ease
- UK retail sales fall
- Iraq battles militants over control of oil refinery
FTSE 100: 0.44%
CAC 40: 0.72%
FTSE MIB: 0.85%
IBEX 35: 0.68%
Stoxx 600: 0.58%
European stocks gained after the Federal Reserve said the US economy will see further growth and decided to keep interest rates low.
The Fed maintained interest rates at 0.25% and reduced monthly asset purchases by $10bn to $35bn after wrapping up its two-day policy meeting yesterday.
"Economic activity has rebounded in recent months," the Federal Open Market Committee said.
The Fed forecast long-term growth for the US economy of 2.1% to 2.3%, compared with 2.2% to 2.3% three months ago.
Policymakers reiterated that they will continue to reduce the pace of asset purchases in further measured steps, given the pick-up in the economy.
Turning to today's US news, initial jobless came in at 312,000 in the week to June 14th after a revised 318,000 claims the previous week. Analysts had predicted 314,000 claims.
"Overall, this report is consistent with the steady improvement in the separations side of the labour market in the second quarter after a volatile first quarter in which continuing claims moved higher in January before resuming their downward trend in February," Barclays Research said.
In the UK, retail sales fell 0.5% in May compared with April, although the decline was less than the 0.6% retreat forecast by analysts, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Iraq government forces are battling Sunni Muslim militants for control of the country's biggest oil refinery in Baghdad.
Officials insisted security forces were "in full control" of the Baiji refinery but militants led by the jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have surrounded the facility.
Iraq has asked for US air strikes on the militants and President Barack Obama was due to make a statement at 16:30 GMT.
Brent crude futures rose $0.427 to $114.750 per barrel, according to the ICE, in the wake of concerns the crisis could disrupt oil supplies.
CGG rallied after saying that Pan American geophysical bought one of its land-surveying systems for delivery in July.
Rolls-Royce gained after saying it will buy back £1bn of its own shares.
Electricite de France declined after French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said the utility won't increase rates on August 1st.
Peugeot was higher as Exane BNP Paribas cited Chief Financial Officer Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon as saying that growing volumes made the Chinese market a major contributor to profit and cash.
The euro rose 0.20% to $1.3622.