Investing.com - European stocks opened sharply higher on Friday, as investors chose to ignore the possibility of a June rate hike in the U.S. and as a rebound in oil prices lent support to the energy sector.
The Fed’s April meeting minutes on Wednesday showed that officials said a June rate hike would be appropriate if economic data indicated that growth was picking up in the second quarter and employment and inflation were firming.
In addition, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said on Thursday that the U.S. economy could be strong enough to warrant a rate hike in June or July.
A rise in oil prices drove energy-related stocks broadly higher, as French oil and gas major Total SA (PA:TOTF) rallied 1.69% and Italy’s ENI (MI:ENI) jumped 1.74%, while Norwegian rival Statoil ASA (OL:STL) gained 1.73%.
Among peripheral lenders, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) surged 1.66% and 4.37% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (MC:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MC:SAN) jumped 1.02% and 1.74%.
Elsewhere, the airline sector recovered somewhat from Thursday’s losses, as the search for the missing EgyptAir flight MS804, that is presumed to have crashed into the Mediterranean en route from Paris to Cairo, continued.
In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rallied 1.46%, boosted by gains in the mining sector.
Financial stocks added to gains, as HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) climbed 0.97% and Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) rallied 1.30%, while Barclays (LON:BARC) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) soared 1.79% and 1.72% respectively.
On the downside, Merlin Entertainments PLC (LON:MERL) slipped 0.10% after the theme park operator warned of difficult trading conditions on Thursday.
In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.37% gain, S&P 500 futures a 0.31% rise, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.39% increase.
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