European shares struggle for direction as traders weigh rate outlook

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Staff

(Reuters) – European stocks opened nearly flat on Thursday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s November meeting signalled a slowdown in its pace of interest rate hikes, with investors looking for fresh cues from the European Central Bank. The pan-European index slipped 0.03% by 0808 GMT, with volumes likely thinned by a U.S. market holiday for Thanksgiving. Wall Street ended with solid gains on Wednesday after the U.S. central bank’s meeting minutes showed a “substantial majority” of policymakers agreed it would “likely soon be appropriate” to slow the pace of interest rate hikes. The European Central Bank will release later in the day the minutes of its October meeting, where it raised interest rates by 75 basis points but said “substantial” progress had already been made in its bid to fight off a historic surge in inflation.
Among stocks, Remy Cointreau slipped 2.7% after the maker of Remy Martin cognac said the second-half would reflect a return to normal consumption trends after two years of “exceptional growth”. Elekta tumbled 5.3% after the radiation therapy equipment maker warned that uncertain macroeconomic conditions and supply chain issues would hurt its third-quarter margins.