(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
March 18 (Reuters) - Automakers lifted the German DAX to a record high on Thursday, while euro zone blue-chip stocks jumped to pre-pandemic levels after the U.S. Federal Reserve vowed to keep interest rates low despite forecasting a surge in economic growth.
An index of euro zone's top 50 companies .STOXX50E gained 0.3% in early trading, briefly surpassing its peak hit in February last year before the COVID-19 pandemic hammered financial markets.
Germany's blue-chip DAX .GDAXI rose 0.7%, France's CAC 40 .FCHI was up 0.2%, while UK's FTSE 100 .FTSE slipped 0.1% ahead of the Bank of England's monetary policy decision due later in the day. wider pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX rose 0.3% and was trading less than 2% below its all-time high.
With the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield US10YT=RR rising in after the Fed decision, economically sensitive sectors such as automakers .SXAP , banks .SX7P , miners .SXPP and travel & leisure .SXTP led the gains in Europe. VOWG_p.DE jumped 6.1%, sealing its position as the most valuable company in Germany's DAX after it overtook software maker SAP SAPG.DE on Wednesday. considered as bond-proxies such as utilities .SX6P , food & beverage .SX3P and healthcare stocks .SXDP were trading lower.
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