Business

European Stocks Close Higher as UK Unveils Fiscal Stimulus Package; Ocado Up 12%

Source: NYSE
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.9% higher provisionally, with retail shares surging 4.8% to lead the gains.
  • British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced a range of measures aimed at tackling the country's cost of living crisis.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher Thursday as traders reacted to new fiscal stimulus measures in the U.K.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.9% higher provisionally, with retail shares surging 4.8% to lead the gains. The sector got a boost from news of U.K. plans to boost economic activity.

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday announced a range of measures aimed at tackling the country's cost of living crisis, including a so-called "windfall tax" on the profits of oil and gas giants and cost-of-living payments to low-income households and pensioners.

In terms of individual share price movement, British retail tech firm Ocado surged nearly 12% to the top of the Stoxx 600 on the U.K.'s stimulus measures. The firm also got a boost from news of an expansion of its partnership with American retailer Kroger in Ohio.

At the bottom of the benchmark, British Gas owner Centrica fell 7%, leading a decline in utilities stocks after the U.K.'s windfall tax announcement.

In the U.S., stocks rose Thursday after minutes of the Federal Reserve's May policy meeting showed the central bank is prepared to raise rates further than the market had anticipated.

The minutes from the Fed's May 3-4 meeting showed officials saw the need to raise rates quickly, and possibly more than the market has priced in, to quell the recent inflationary pressures.

It's the last day of the World Economic Forum on Thursday, bringing to an end an event that sees global business and political leaders come together to discuss the world's most pressing problems, with the war in Ukraine topping the agenda.

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- CNBC's Ryan Browne contributed to this report

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