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European shares grind higher ahead of Powell speech

European shares grind higher ahead of Powell speech
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Staff -
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(Reuters) – European shares inched higher early on Friday, with all eyes on a speech by Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell for confirmation the U.S. central bank is still on course to deliver another cut in interest rates next month.

The highly-anticipated address at the Jackson Hole symposium is due at 1400 GMT and follows minutes from the Fed’s July meeting which have cooled money market expectations of a bigger half-point cut next month.

Some more encouraging data points this week have also helped ease market fears of recession – the main driver of a sell-off in the first half of August as well as of expectations that the Fed and other central banks would respond with more easing.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.5% at 0710 GMT, rebounding from a fall on Thursday due to by mixed readings of business growth across major economies and as a jump in the pound slammed London stocks.

The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index also rose 0.5%, while the euro-zone benchmark <.STOXXE> gained 0.6% and outperformed the market.

SimCorp A/S jumped 7.7%, and was the biggest gainer on the benchmark index, after the software company upgraded its financial forecast for 2019.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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