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European shares lower on U.S. rate hike expectations, Alstom up

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European shares fell on Monday as top Federal Reserve officials bolstered expectations for a U.S. rate hike this year, while Alstom bucked the weaker trend after a contract win.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3 per cent, giving back gains seen in the previous session, while a holiday closure of UK markets was expected to keep activity low.

At the Fed’s annual gathering for global central bankers on Friday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the case for a rate hike had strengthened, but while she gave no hints of timing, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said later her speech was consistent with expectations for possible rate increases this year.

Investors said Friday’s U.S. jobs report was now in strong focus for any more clue about whether the next U.S. rate hike could come as early as September. Futures price in a 33 per cent chance of a September hike, up from 18 per cent last week.

Paul

The author Paul