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Europe: Stocks rise at open, on eve of Fed rate call

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[LONDON] Europe's main stock markets gained ground in opening trade on Monday, the eve of an interest rate decision from the US Federal Reserve.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies was up 0.3 per cent at 7,536.17 points in initial trade.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index won almost 0.4 per cent to 12,739.50 points and the Paris CAC 40 added nearly 0.3 per cent to 5,254.14 compared with Monday's closing level.

Traders are now awaiting the end of the Fed latest monetary policy meeting.

While another interest rate hike is widely expected, the bank's post-meeting statement will be scanned for some forward guidance and clues about future movements.

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"The Fed is widely expected to raise the interest rates by 25 basis points for the third time since December," noted London Capital Group analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

"The accompanying statement will be the major highlight: traders will focus on any details regarding the Fed's balance sheet normalisation plans and the timing of the next rate hike."

At the policy meeting last month, the Fed left rates unchanged at between 0.75 and one per cent, and policymakers said they would wait to see whether evidence supported another rate increase.


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