European markets closed higher on Thursday as global investors awaited the start of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole economic symposium.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.3%, following a mixed day’s trade. Oil and gas stocks gained 1.1%, while retail stocks plunged 2%.
The Fed’s annual symposium kicks off on Thursday, with Chairman Jerome Powell due to deliver a speech Friday. Investors will assess whether the central bank tightens monetary policy as it works on taming inflation and whether interest rate cuts are in sight at the end of the current cycle.
Luke Bartholomew, senior economist at Abrdn, said Powell might use the speech to deliver a “mea culpa” on his prediction that inflation would be “transitory,” and to demonstrate what the Fed has learned about price pressures over the past year.
“Powell is likely to stress that policy still has a long way to go before the Fed will feel comfortable it has decisively turned the corner on restoring price stability. This is important because the market has behaved recently as if the Fed has pivoted away from its hawkish stance,” Bartholomew said in an email Wednesday.