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European shares cut losses after Powell stays dovish

·2-min read
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Sruthi Shankar and Susan Mathew

(Reuters) - European shares recovered most of their day's losses to remain near record highs on Wednesday after a dovish tone from the U.S. Federal Reserve calmed fears brought about by rising inflation in the United States.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday said U.S. monetary policy will offer "powerful support" to the economy "until the recovery is complete", reiterating that the rise in inflation was transitory. Data on Tuesday showing that U.S. inflation ran hotter than expected in June had investors fearing that a policy tightening could come sooner than expected.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.1% down. It had lost as much as 0.4% during the session, after hitting a record high on Tuesday.

Miners, banks, technology and auto stocks gained between 0.3% and 1% to keep overall losses in check.

"Powell's testimony has ... been enough to make waves in the commodity space ... and helping miners on the FTSE 100 to make gains," said Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at online trader IG.

European Central Bank policymakers have stressed in recent weeks that they will not remove support measures prematurely as the economic recovery is still under way.

In the UK, however, the FTSE 100 dropped 0.5% on a stronger pound after data showed British inflation jumped to 2.5% in June, further above the Bank of England's target and its highest level since August 2018.

Travel & leisure shares were among the biggest losers, falling an average 1%. TUI, the world's largest holiday company, shed 7.2% on reports that had it cancelled more holidays this month and next as the Delta variant of the coronavirus races around the globe.

ECB inflation forecast annotated https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xklvyxrrepg/ECB%20inflation%20forecast%20annotated.JPG

Swedish telecoms operator Tele2 gained 5.9% after reporting an 8% rise in quarterly core earnings, helped by cost savings and a reduction in pandemic-related headwinds.

German fashion house Hugo Boss rose 2.1% after forecasting that revenue would grow 30-35% this year.

German airline Lufthansa slipped 1.8% after saying passenger numbers were currently around 40% of pre-pandemic levels, and that it aimed to reach 60%-70% by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Subhranshu Sahu)

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