European stocks edged higher, aided by gains for consumer-related shares, while U.K. blue-chips got a lift from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s comments on interest rates.
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.09% was up 0.2% at 392.66, modestly building on gains logged Monday that left the index at its highest since June 5. Consumer services and consumer goods shares led the advancers Tuesday, while basic material and oil and gas shares sagged.
Aiding consumer shares was the prospect that borrowing rates in the U.K. are set to stay at a record low for the foreseeable future. BOE chief Carney said in his delayed Mansion House speech in London Tuesday that “now is not yet the time” to begin to lift the bank’s key interest rate from its current 0.25%.
“It would appear that the BOE chief wants to keep monetary policy loose as there is so much uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations, which started yesterday,” said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK, in a note.
“Some traders feel that Mr. Carney was too aggressive in his easing of monetary policy in the awake of Brexit, and now it seems that he doesn’t want to increase interest rates in case he has to cut them again.”
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Elsewhere in the consumer goods sector, shares of German lighting manufacturer Osram Licht AG OSR, +3.78% marched up 3.2%, to top the Stoxx 600. The move came after a ratings upgrade to buy at Bankhaus Lampe, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
Techs appeal: Meanwhile, the Stoxx Europe 600 Technology Index FX8, +1.11% tacked on 0.5%, keying off advances for the tech sector Monday on Wall Street. The upbeat tone for techs contrasts with recent pain in the sector, as questions over valuations prompted investors to yank shares of Apple Inc. AAPL, +2.86% and Facebook Inc. FB, +1.48% sharply lower, with the impact spilling over into the European tech sector.
Stock movers: Barclays PLC BARC, -0.39% BCS, +1.25% was down 0.2% after the U.K. Serious Fraud Office charged the bank and four former executives with conspiracy to commit fraud in a case related to fundraising in Qatar during the financial crisis.
Indexes: Germany’s DAX 30 DAX, +0.16% was up 0.30% at 12,933.25. France’s CAC 40 PX1, +0.17% gained 0.4% to 5,334.14, still buoyed by the weekend’s elections, when French President Emmanuel Macron’s party won a parliamentary majority.
Economic data: The eurozone’s current account surplus narrowed to 22.2 billion euros in April.