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European stocks headed toward their highest level since 2000

European stocks headed toward their highest level since 2000 after the Federal Reserve said data indicated economic growth has moderated, fueling speculation it won’t be in a rush to raise interest rates.

All 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced, led by miners.

BHP Billiton added 1.9 per cent, and Rio Tinto Group gained 1.4 per cent as industrial metals traded higher.

The Stoxx 600 rose 0.5 percent to 400.59 at 9:03 am in London, heading for its highest close since September 2000.

Equities climbed yesterday as UK shares rallied after a budget presentation and Swedish stocks jumped after a rate cut. The Stoxx 600 has surged 17 per cent this year.

A US rate increase in April is unlikely and policy won’t be tightened until the central bank is “reasonably confident” inflation will return to its target and the job market improves further, according to the Fed’s statement.

It also dropped an assurance it will be “patient” in raising interest rates. Standard and Poor’s 500 Index futures lost 0.1 per cent.

The Fed cut its estimate for where the benchmark US interest rate will be by the end of 2015, easing concern that tighter monetary policy would curb demand for riskier assets and sending the dollar soaring.

Among stocks moving on corporate news, HeidelbergCement climbed 0.7 per cent, paring earlier gains of as much as 3.4 per cent.

The world’s third-biggest cementmaker cut debt more than analysts expected, even without the added bonus of disposal proceeds.

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