UPDATE 3-European shares hit six-week highs as BoE bolsters Fed-fuelled rally
* BoE cuts Q2 economic growth forecast
* U.S. central bank holds rates steady
* Italy leads gains among major indexes
* Deutsche Bank falls on report of U.S. probe (Updates to close)
By Susan Mathew and Medha Singh
June 20 (Reuters) - European stocks surged to six-week highs on Thursday, as dovish signals from the Bank of England and Federal Reserve, allied to optimism around the resumption U.S.-China trade talks, saw investors piling into riskier assets.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX finished 0.4% higher, with most country indices in the black as investors globally priced in the prospect of an easing of U.S. interest rates next month and more to follow.
The Bank of England, in contrast to the Fed, continues to threaten to raise and not lower rates, but its June meeting saw the Monetary Policy Committee slash second quarter growth forecasts to zero, heading off any market fears that it would actually deliver a hike anytime soon. Bank of England was never going to rock the boat with an interest rate rise, given static economic conditions and a continued lack of direction on Brexit," Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown (LON: HRGV ) wrote in a note.
"(But) with the Fed now striking a more dovish pose as it also sees rising downside risks in the global economy, we shouldn't entirely rule out the possibility the next interest rate move may be downwards."
London's FTSE 100 .FTSE saw a sharp rise after the BoE statement, and hit session highs increasing as much as 0.7%, before closing up 0.3%. .L
Italy's FTSE MIB index .FTMIB was the outstanding performer of the big European markets, rallying 0.7%, with analysts pointing to signs the European Commission could hold off on moves to discipline the country over rising debt. of policy easing have helped drive a near 5% gain for the STOXX 600 this month, helping the main index recoup almost all of a steep sell-off that made May the worst month in more than two years.
Tumbling euro zone bond yields pointed to more respite for European public and private sector borrowers, while pressuring interest-rate-sensitive banking stocks .SX7P , which lost 1.3% as the worst-performing European sector.
Signs the United States and China will return to the negotiating table over trade also bolstered sentiment, with tariff-sensitive auto .SXAP and technology stocks .SX8P gaining 0.8% and 1.6% respectively. DAX .GDAXI hit its highest level in almost nine months, helped by software company SAP SAPG.DE advancing 1.5% after arch-rival Oracle (NYSE: ORCL ) ORCL.N forecast current-quarter profit above estimates. food delivery company Delivery Hero DHER.DE jumped 9.7%, the most on the benchmark index, after raising its full year revenue outlook by 200 million euros. high-profile decliner was Deutsche Bank AG DBKGn.DE , which slipped 2.6% after a report U.S. federal authorities are investigating whether the German lender complied with laws meant to stop money laundering and other crimes. shares .SSMI hit new all-time highs in the session as watchmakers got a boost from better than expected Swiss watch exports data for May. UHR.S shares topped the index, up 2.2%, while Richemont CFR.S rose 0.2%.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Price performance of London's FTSE 100 index
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