European stocks advanced for a second day, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to its highest level since July 2007, as the European Central Bank committed to begin asset purchases on March 9.
The Stoxx 600 rose 0.8 percent to 393.78 at the close of trading. The gauge has rallied 15 percent this year after the ECB said it would start a quantitative-easing program. At the same time, economic data are topping forecasts by the most in two years, according to Citigroup Inc.’s Surprise Index.
The ECB kept interest rates unchanged at record lows today. The central bank will begin asset purchases next week, including some debt with negative yields, amounting to 60 billion euros ($ 66 billion) a month, President Mario Draghi told reporters in Nicosia, Cyprus. He also unveiled forecasts showing higher economic growth with an inflation outlook that puts the ECB on track to reach its goal of just below 2 percent in 2017.
Germany’s DAX Index rose 1 percent to a record close. Portugal’s PSI 20 Index jumped 1.7 percent, for the best performance of 18 western-European markets. The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was 8.7 percent lower than the 30-day average.