Feb 8 (Reuters) – European shares hit more than nine-month highs on Wednesday as investors took positive cues from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments overnight, while Linde’s upbeat forecasts and Akzo Nobel pushed up materials and chemicals stocks.
The pan-European STOXX 600 Index was up 0.6% at 0818 GMT, hitting its highest level since April 2022.
Powell’s comments that 2023 should be a year of “significant declines in inflation” were interpreted as less aggressive than feared, though he acknowledged that Friday’s strong US jobs report showed why the battle against inflation “it will take quite a while.”
The chemical sector led the advances between sectors.
German gas giant Linde and Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel rose 2.4% and 6.5% respectively after presenting higher profit forecasts for 2023.
Finnish refiner Neste rose 11% to be the top bull on the STOXX 600, after beating expectations with its comparable fourth-quarter operating results.
Norwegian energy company Equinor gained 6.1% after posting a record adjusted operating profit of $74.9 billion in 2022.
Italy’s state-owned bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) rose 1.4% after posting much higher-than-expected quarterly profit.
(Reporting by Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; editing in Spanish by Flora Gómez)
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