European Stocks Hold Steady as Traders Weigh Fed Hike Prospects

Is March Fed Rate Hike Locked, Live and 100 Percent?

European stocks were little changed, following the previous session’s biggest surge since the U.S. election in November, as prospects for higher U.S. rates remained in investor focus.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell less than 0.1 percent lower. Stocks surged to a 14-month high yesterday, led by banks and miners, as rising bets for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase stoked optimism about global growth.

  • Traders are pricing in a 90 percent chance of a rate increase at the March 15 decision, more than double the odds last Friday, Fed fund futures showed, after several Fed officials signaled willingness to tighten policy.
  • Health-care shares rallied, boosted by a 7 percent gain in Roche Holding AG after its breast-cancer medicine Perjeta succeeded in the company’s most anticipated patient study, a key step for a franchise that could exceed $9 billion in sales by 2021.
  • Utilities led Stoxx 600 gains as Engie SA jumped 8.2 percent after saying profit will rebound in 2017.
  • Miners were the worst performers in Europe, sliding 1 percent after yesterday’s biggest surge in almost three weeks.

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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