European markets were flat on Thursday morning as investors assessed the latest meeting minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was little changed in early trade, with minimal movement across the board. Retail stocks slipped 0.5% while banks gained 0.5%.
Minutes from the November meeting signaled that the central bank is seeing progress in its fight against high inflation and is looking to slow the pace of rate hikes, meaning smaller ones through the end of this year and into 2023.
“A substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate,” the minutes stated.
European investors also reacted to Wednesday’s flash November PMI (purchasing managers’ index) readings from the euro zone, which reaffirmed that the 19-member currency bloc has entered recession, but showed the downturn in business activity slowing slightly.
Overnight, markets in the Asia-Pacific traded higher, reacting positively to the Fed saying it expected to switch to smaller rate hikes “soon.” U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday following a choppy session. Markets on Wall Street are closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.