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May 30, 2013

Virtual currencies run into legal trouble in U.S.: GATA I THE GATA DISPATCH May 30, 2013.

Virtual currencies run into legal trouble in U.S.

By Stephen Foley
Financial Times, London
Thursday, May 30, 2013


http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/dc18a5be-c872-11e2-8cb7-00144feab7de.html

According to the website Localbitcoins.com, in the United States alone there are more than 2,000 people in 650 towns and cities who want to sell you Bitcoins for cash, right now.

Transactions in the virtual currency, which came to mainstream attention this year, are anonymous and untraceable -- and they are increasingly drawing the scrutiny of law enforcement authorities who fear they will become a tool of money launderers.

A string of legal actions and regulatory manoeuvres in the United States in recent weeks has made life more complicated for people who hope to make a living from trading virtual currencies, which are created by individuals or companies instead of governments, and which are used outside the traditional banking system.

A glance at the US section of Localbitcoins.com elicits a stark warning from one legal expert.

 "You better get yourself registered, or you better get your name off the list real fast," says Carol Van Cleef, a partner in Patton Boggs' banking practice and an adviser on anti-money laundering policies.
The bout of concern over the future of virtual currencies was sparked this week as the Department of Justice and the US Treasury moved against Liberty Reserve, the creators of "LR," a currency that a criminal complaint said was used to launder the proceeds of credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking.
The action comes less than a fortnight after the Department of Homeland Security seized the US bank accounts of the largest Bitcoin exchange, saying its owner had failed to register the company as a money services business (MSB).
One of Bitcoin's early uses was as the currency of choice for buyers and sellers of drugs on the website Silk Road, although its supporters point to a gathering number of legitimate businesses that use it.

But the burgeoning number of virtual currencies, and the wave of entrepreneurial interest in building payments systems on the back of them, could be held back by the costs of acceding to government demands that they root out illicit uses. This could particularly be the case with Bitcoin and similar experiments, which rely on a decentralised and anonymous network of computers around the world to manage transactions.

"Criminals are always the first adopters," Ms Van Cleef says. "They will hit it and hit it, and they will keep hitting it until controls are put in place."

For the libertarians who have been drawn to virtual currencies as a means of wresting economic control from governments and central banks, recent developments have put them in a spot, she adds.
"This is the issue for those people who do not believe in government. They are going to have to 'cut a deal with the devil.' If they are in the financial services world, they are going to have to recognise that."

This is by no means accepted across the Bitcoin community.

"People are way too US-centric when discussing Bitcoin," says Erik Voorhees, an early evangelist for the currency, who moved from the US to Panama to pursue his business ventures.

"Bitcoin's early successes will not be in the US. They will be in the developing world where a banking system is practically non-existent or where currencies are being destroyed, such as in Argentina. US Bitcoin businesses absolutely need to follow the US regulations or they'll be shut down, and that doesn't help anyone, but US regulations do not apply to, for example, a Kenyan company doing business with Kenyans."

Venture capital money has flowed into Bitcoin payments businesses on the theory that the currency could be used to increase the speed and reduce the cost of international transactions, even through the US.

In March, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a division of the US Treasury, clarified that all virtual currency exchangers needed to register as MSBs, and to set up procedures to identify and report suspicious transactions, in the same way as traditional banks must.

Since then, some Bitcoin businesses have reported having their accounts shut down by their banks.
Steve Hudak, spokesman for FinCEN, says it is not the Treasury's intention to stifle innovation in virtual currencies.

"We do expect banks to assess their risk tolerance and assess their customers, but we certainly did not intend to label all these businesses as unfit for banking," he says. "Our intention is only to set out what they need to do to make themselves legitimate under FinCEN regulations."

* * *

Asian Markets News at the Time, May 30, 2013-22:49 from Marketwatch, may 30, 23013.

Asia

Japan stocks rebound after sell-off, leading Asia Japanese stocks jump to recover some of the steep losses suffered in the previous session, with exporters aided as the U.S. dollar climbs above ¥101 after a slew of monthly economic data.


Two Sinopec units' A-shares in trading halt SHANGHAI--Two units of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (600028.SH), or Sinopec Corp., said Friday that their yuan-denominated A-shares will be halted from trade from Friday due to a pending state-led share-reform plan.



Hong Kong shares edge higher; HSBC, property gain HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Hong Kong stocks posted modest gains early Friday as some weaker-than-expected U.S. economic indicators kept alive hopes the Federal Reserve will maintain the current level of its asset purchases, with heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC and property developers on the rise. The Hang Seng Index added 0.3% to 22,546.15, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was flat in choppy trade. Shares of HSBC gained 1.1%, China Resources Land Ltd. advanced 1.3% and Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. climbed 0.5%. Gains were capped by a drop in some Chinese lenders, with China Construction Bank Corp. losing 0.5% and Bank of Communications Co. falling 0.5%. China's Shanghai Composite climbed 0.2%. 

India may try anything to reduce gold imports -- except stabilize the rupee: GATA I THE GATA DISPATCH; May 30, 2013.

India may try anything to reduce gold imports -- except stabilize the rupee

India May Consider More Steps to Curb Gold Imports
By Rajesh Roy
The Wall Street Journal
Thursday, May 30, 2013

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732441260457851453188945755...

NEW DELHI -- India may consider more steps in early June to reduce domestic gold consumption if imports of the metal remain high this month, a senior finance ministry official said Thursday.
Gold imports in April more than doubled in value from a year earlier to $7.5 billion as prices hit a two-year low. Imports are expected to be high again in May because of the wedding season and festival-related demand.

"Imports have jumped substantially in the first fortnight of May. We are waiting for the complete month's data before taking a call if more measures are required," the finance ministry official told The Wall Street Journal.

He didn't elaborate what steps the government may take, but said there is no plan to ban gold imports or to further raise the import tax.
 
Industry executives said the government may limit the amount of gold imported by state-run agencies such as MMTC Ltd. and State Trading Corp. of India Ltd.

"It's very difficult to ban imports as gold is an emotional issue in India. Any such move will also lead to a rise in the smuggling of gold," the official said.

Gifting gold jewelry during weddings is a tradition in India. Buying usually increases during Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Akshaya Tritiya. This year, Akshaya Tritiya, a major gold-buying festival, was on May 13.

Imports of the precious metal have been a major contributor to India's wide trade and current-account deficits. Only crude oil accounts for a larger share of India's imports than gold.

India is estimated to have imported 100-120 metric tons of gold in April and the figure is expected to remain at a the same level this month, industry executives said. Usually, India imports 70-80 tons a month.

India has already taken several steps to damp demand for gold, including raising the import tax to 6% from 2% over the past year. Until mid-May, bullion dealers could place gold import orders with a designated bank by paying a margin upfront and the rest on delivery, but a new rule stipulates they pay the entire amount before importing.

India will also sell from next month government bonds that will adjust returns based on the rate of inflation, a move aimed in part at weaning away small investors from buying gold as a hedge against high inflation.

* * *

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Op-Ed Columnist The Romantic Advantage: The New York Times: ALERT FGC BOLSA - FGC FINANCIAL MARKETS; May 30, 2013.



FGC BOLSA- FGC FIN

Compiled: May 30, 2013 10:10:15 PM

Op-Ed Columnist

The Romantic Advantage  
China may be the world’s second-largest economy, but when it comes to branding, the United States still wins.

Deal Professor: Running the National Security Gantlet in a Pork Deal Steve: DealBook P.M. edition; May 30, 2013.



Thursday, May 30, 2013


TOP STORY
A pig farmer works on the outskirts of Shenyang, Liaoning province.
Deal Professor: Running the National Security Gantlet in a Pork Deal Steven M. Davidoff says that the biggest hurdle to the $4.7 billion acquisition by a Chinese meat producer may be "uproar risk." In other words, will there be a public outcry about China and food that leads to Cfius or Congress acting?
  • DEALBOOK » | China's Food Deal Extends Its Reach, Already Mighty
  •  
  •  
    DEALBOOK HIGHLIGHTS
    Standard Deduction: Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate Could Stabilize Banks Victor Fleischer says that if Congress reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, as many have suggested, it could help reduce systemic risk in the banking industry.
    Fewer Bonuses for Bankers in Britain One in three bankers in London walked away empty handed from the last bonus round, a survey by the recruitment firm Morgan McKinley showed on Thursday.
    K.K.R. Hires Petraeus to Head Institute Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has hired David H. Petraeus, a retired general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to serve as chairman of the newly created KKR Global Institute.
    Breakingviews: Succession Carousel at General Electric Agnes T. Crane says that the potential exit of GE Capital's chief shifts the spotlight onto succession for his boss, Jeffrey Immelt.
    LOOKING AHEAD
    Economic Reports Data on Friday will include the Chicago purchasing managers' index for May, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May and personal income and spending.
    Overseas On Friday, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decide on output goals.

    DEALBOOK HIGHLIGHTS
    Standard Deduction: Reducing the Corporate Tax Rate Could Stabilize Banks Victor Fleischer says that if Congress reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, as many have suggested, it could help reduce systemic risk in the banking industry.
    Fewer Bonuses for Bankers in Britain One in three bankers in London walked away empty handed from the last bonus round, a survey by the recruitment firm Morgan McKinley showed on Thursday.
    K.K.R. Hires Petraeus to Head Institute Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has hired David H. Petraeus, a retired general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to serve as chairman of the newly created KKR Global Institute.
    Breakingviews: Succession Carousel at General Electric Agnes T. Crane says that the potential exit of GE Capital's chief shifts the spotlight onto succession for his boss, Jeffrey Immelt.
    LOOKING AHEAD
    Economic Reports Data on Friday will include the Chicago purchasing managers' index for May, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May and personal income and spending.
    Overseas On Friday, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decide on output goals.

Stocks gain; S&P 500 on track for 7th monthly rise: MarketWatch Wall Street at Close Report; May 30, 2013.


By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks climbed Thursday, with the S&P 500 index on track for its longest monthly winning streak since September 2009, as another report cast a positive light on the U.S. housing market. 

“We haven’t had a ‘sell in May’ since this bull market began,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, referring to the old Wall Street adage, ‘Sell in May and go away.’ 

With one trading session remaining in May, the S&P 500 index SPX +0.37% is up 3.6% month-to-date, positioning for a seventh consecutive monthly gain, which would be its longest monthly win streak since the one ending in September 2009. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.14% rose 21.73 points to 15,324.53, with 17 of its 30 components advancing. Up 3.3% for May, the blue-chip index is in position to notch its sixth straight monthly gain. 

Dow member Alcoa Inc. AA -1.05% fell 1.1% after Moody’s Investors Service reduced its rating on the aluminum manufacturer’s debt to one notch below investment grade. 

The S&P 500 index added 6.05 points to 1,654.41, with financials leading sector gains and telecommunications losing the most ground among its 10 major industry groups. 




Big Lots, Alcoa, EMC
John Shipman highlights some of the stocks to watch for during the trading session, including Big Lots, EMC and Alcoa. Photo: Getty Images 

“Those pundits that had you reaching for yield for the last few months in the utilities, REITS (real estate investment trusts) and telephone sectors are all hiding under a rock now,” Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., wrote in afternoon commentary. 

“In the last few days, many defensive names have come under pressure as money flowed out of them into cyclicals,” said Spar, adding that part of the catalyst for the flow was the 10-year Treasury yield remaining over 2%. 

A clear break of support at 2% “could be the catalyst for some profit-taking in the cyclical and financials that have attracted money,” he concluded. 

On Thursday, the 10-year yield 10_YEAR +0.09%  stood at 2.118%. 

The Nasdaq Composite COMP +0.69% climbed 23.78 points to 3,491.30. 

For every two stocks on the decline, roughly three gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 710 million shares traded. 

Composite volume neared 3.5 billion.

Healing in housing market

Stock indexes retained gains after the National Association of Realtors reported pending sales of homes rose 0.3% in April. 

Other reports Thursday had the U.S. economy growing less than expected last quarter and jobless claims rising more than estimated last week. 

“The housing market continues to look good, and GDP growth is slow and steady, which is actually a good environment for stocks,” said Frederick. Since the start of the bull market, now in its fourth year, “you kept hearing you can’t have an economic recovery until you had participation by the housing market. It started in the middle of last year, in the June-July time frame. So now, almost a year later, it’s pretty clear that has happened,” he said. 


Getty Images Enlarge Image
Pending home sales tick up in April, with the index hitting a three-year high.
A volatile Japanese market remained in the headlines.
The Japanese yen USDJPY +0.05% fell against the U.S. dollar DXY -0.75% and Japan equity index futures bounced higher after Reuters reported a proposed change in Japan’s public pension fund’s strategy would likely bolster equity markets while denting the nation’s currency. U.S. stock-index futures also gained after that report. 

Gold futures gained $20.20 to end at a more-than-two-week high of $1,412 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. And, crude-oil futures CLN3 +0.48% reversed course to settle up 48 cents at $93.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. 

Noteworthy movers on Thursday included Clearwire Corp. CLWR -0.44% , up 26%, after Dish Network Corp. DISH +0.69% upped its offer for the company, upping the ante in a bidding competition with Sprint Nextel Corp. S +0.82% .
 
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

Wall Street at Close Report by CNBC on May 30, 2013.


By:
CNBC.com Writer

Stocks shaved their gains in the final hour of trading Thursday, but still ended modestly higher with the Dow recovering from its worst one-day drop in nearly four weeks, as the latest round of tepid economic data suggested the Fed's bond-buying program would remain intact.
(Read More: After-Hours Buzz: LGF, PANW, MS & More)

While major averages are near breakeven for the week, stocks are on track for their first positive month of May since 2009.
Name Price Change %Change
DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average 15324.53 21.73 0.14%
S&P 500 S&P 500 Index 1654.41 6.05 0.37%
NASDAQ Nasdaq Composite Index 3491.30 23.78 0.69%
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 21.73 points, to end at 15,324.53, led by Bank of America and UnitedHealth, after dropping more than 100 points in the previous session.

The S&P 500 gained 6.05 points, to finish at 1,654.41. And the Nasdaq climbed 23.78 points, to close at 3,491.30.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, closed below 15.

Among key S&P sectors, financials and techs led the gainers, while telecoms sagged.
"After some early hesitation, the market got in gear on the upside with leadership from the semiconductors and financials, the kind of leadership you like to see if you are a bull," wrote Elliot Spar, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus. "[Meanwhile,] in the last few days, many defensive names have come under pressure as money flowed out of them into cyclicals. The catalyst was the 10-year yield staying over 2 percent and the perception that the economy was getting stronger."
The End of the Dividend Trend? David Katz, Matrix Asset Advisors, and Scott Wren, Wells Fargo Advisors, debate whether or not it's time to leave dividend stocks behind.  (Read More: Stocks Having a 'Taper Tantrum,' Says Fidelity Pro) Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly gained 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 354,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected a reading of 340,000. But a Labor Department analyst said claims for five states, including Virginia, Minnesota and Oregon, were estimated since state offices had less time to prepare data because of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. And the U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, according to revised numbers from the Commerce Department, falling slightly short of estimates for a 2.5 percent gain. Also on the economic front, pending home sales ticked up 0.3 percent in April from the previous month, according to the National Association of Realtors, rising to the highest level in three years. "We think this market rally can continue and traders should continue to be long the market, but still hedge to the downside," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Schwab Center for Financial Research. "We still have an overly accommodative Fed stance and there's no indication that it's going to change anytime soon. As long as the Fed continues to buy bonds, there's plenty of reason to be bullish." 
Plot Market Volatility: Technician Katie Stockton, MKM Partners, scans the charts to see what the technical indicators are showing about the market's next move. 

Futures were lower earlier after Japan's Nikkei index plummeted over 5 percent, weighed down by the strengthening yen and volatile Japanese government bond yields.

(Read More: Sun Will Rise: Investors Still Love Japan)
Additionally, investors remained sensitive to the notion that the Fed could soon begin to pull back on its massive unlimited stimulus. Analysts took heart on Wednesday in the comments of Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, one of the central bank's most vocal proponents of accomodative monetary policy, who said the Fed should continue to flood the economy with more stimulus until the recovery becomes "self-sustaining" and labor markets thaw.

"We do not believe key members of the FOMC have already made up their minds on what the next change in Federal Reserve policy should be," said Nomura analysts in a research note. "Any decision to change the pace of asset purchases will depend on how economic data and financial markets evolve."

Dish Network sweetened its buyout offer for Clearwire Corp to $4.40 per share, valuing the wireless service provider at $6.5 billionand topping a rival bid by Sprint Nextel by nearly 30 percent.

Meanwhile, MidAmerican, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, said it will pay $5.6 billion for NV Energy, the electric utility serving Las Vegas and its casinos.

First Solar surged to lead the S&P 500 gainers after the solar company was raised to "buy" from "neutral" by Goldman Sachs.

In another light day of earnings, Costco edged higher after the warehouse club chain posted earnings that edged past expectations, thanks to low prices for food and gasoline.

Big Lots tumbled after the discount retailer handed in current-quarter and full-year guidance that fell short of expectations.


Joy Global declined after the mining equipment maker reported lower quarterly results and slashed its full-year earnings outlook, hurt by a drop in commodity prices.

Lions Gate Entertainment and Splunk are among notable companies scheduled to post earnings after the closing bell.

Facebook rallied after BMO upgraded the social networking giant to "outperform" from "market perform" and Jefferies lifted its rating on the company to "buy" from "hold."


Moody's Investors Service downgraded aluminum producer Alcoa to junk grade, citing weak aluminum prices and tough market conditions.

Treasury prices rallied after the government auctioned $29 billion in 7-year notes at a high yield of 1.496 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio, an indicator of demand, was 2.70.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park. Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC



CFIB urges municipalities to cut wages: BIV Today's Business News; May 30, 2013.



Politics and Policy

Vancouver City Hall

CFIB urges municipalities to cut wages

Municipal leaders are slamming a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) report that criticizes city spending levels ... READ MORE

 

Liquor Distribution Branch seeks moving consultant

The Liquor Distribution Branch is shopping for a supply chain and logistics management expert, three months after Liquor Minister Rich Coleman announced ... READ MORE

 

AG for local government starts looking at the books

Seventeen B.C. cities, towns and regional districts will soon be audited by the Auditor General for Local Governments (AGLG), the B.C. government announced ... READ MORE

Sports and Leisure

 

Edgewater Casino seeks to extend lease

The Las Vegas company that wants to build a casino-hotel connected to BC Place is asking city hall to allow its existing Edgewater Casino to ... READ MORE

More News...

   

P3 contracts best for transportation infrastructure: Fraser Institute

B.C. small business confidence falls in May, remains above national average: CFIB

This Week's Issue

 

Tech innovations to seed digital ad market boom

As information display sector gathers at Vancouver convention, industry shows off technology and predicts 4K TV and bendable screens will take ... READ MORE

CMI Spot Prices as of close of trading in New York; May 30, 2013.


Spot Prices as of close of trading in New York
Thursday, May 30, 2013

Updated 5/30/2013 Today Change Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago
GOLD $1,414.35 +$20.90 $1,393.95 $1,474.35 $1,565.40
SILVER $22.78 +$0.25 $22.58 $24.29 $28.07
PLATINUM $1,485.20 +$29.60 $1,460.00 $1,510.20 $1,404.90
PALLADIUM $760.70 +$9.40 $741.00 $703.20 $608.20

3 New Bull Markets to Watch, Doug Fabian: MoneyShow Investors Daily Alert; May 30, 2013.


INVESTORS DAILY ALERT

The Daily Guru
Jim Jubak on MoneyShow.com
TOP PROS' TOP PICKS
A Big Deal for Big Data, Rob DeFrancesco
GURUS' VIEWS & STRATEGIES
CHARTS IN PLAY
MoneyShow.com Exclusive Interviews
IDEAS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Today's Featured Videos

European stocks end higher after U.S. data: MarketWatch European Markets at Close Report; May 30, 2013.

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 
 
LONDON (MarketWatch) European stock markets closed out a volatile trading day with gains on Thursday, as investors digested fresh data from the U.S. to gauge if it could trigger the Federal Reserve to taper its stimulus program. 

The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP +0.35% climbed 0.4% to close at 303.55. 



What's the worst flight in America?
Middle Seat columnist Scott McCartney looks at the worst flight in America, and how its chronic troubles highlight the pitfalls of airline travel. 


The gain was not enough to recover from a 1.9% loss seen on Wednesday, when the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development slashed the global growth forecast. Over the past week, stock markets have in general struggled for direction, as investors search for catalysts to push markets higher, while worrying that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon taper its easing program. 

“I think the upside for equities look a little limited. Whilst you would hope to see stronger data coming through the next few months, it is A) already factored in and B) it could trigger the Fed to take the foot of the accelerator. A large portion of the recent rally has been due to markets trading on QE rather than the real economy,” said Peter Dixon, strategist at Commerzbank. 

“Many markets are posting double-digit gains for the year to date, so we had a big rally and there’s scope for the market to give back some of these gains,” he added. 

Among notable movers in Europe, shares of Allianz SE DE:ALV +2.66% climbed 2.8% after Nomura lifted the rating on the insurance firm to buy from neutral. 

Banks were also mostly higher. Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas suggested banking stocks have further to run, arguing that the sector is one of the most attractive value plays in the market with an around 20% further upside to fair value. Shares of Intesa Sanpaolo SpA IT:ISP +1.96% gained 2%, Credit Agricole SA FR:ACA +1.30% picked up 1.3% in France and heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC UK:HSBA +1.14% HBC +1.45% HK:5 +0.35% added 1.1%.

U.S. data

The broader European stock markets trimmed gains in the afternoon, after data showed the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 last week to 354,000, exceeding the 345,000 level expected by analysts. 

Meanwhile, U.S. growth for the first quarter was revised lower to 2.4% from an initial estimate of 2.5%. 

A gauge of pending home sales increased 10.3% in April from the same month last year, hitting the highest level in three years

Investors have been closely monitoring data coming out of the U.S., after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last week said that an improvement in data could trigger the central bank to start tapering its asset purchases in coming months. The bank currently buys bond worth $85 billion a month and analysts have credited the aggressive easing strategy as one of the main reasons global equity markets in recent weeks have climbed to multiyear highs. 

“So the question now is how the Fed will read today’s data? It’s unlikely to change the FOMC’s stance of reducing or increasing the pace of asset purchases and more likely to keep them on hold at the next policy meeting and provide little or no details on when and how the central bank will eventually dial back stimulus measures,” said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital, in a note. 

“For now, it’s short-term respite and an opportunity to pick up stocks battered in the selloff in price-action over the past few sessions since the Fed’s meeting minutes last week,” he added. 


On the data front in the euro zone, the European Commission said the Economic Sentiment Indicator for the region picked up 0.8 points to 89.4 in May.

Movers

Among notable movers, mining firms were on the rise, tracking metals prices higher. Shares of Rio Tinto PLC UK:RIO +2.53% AU:RIO -1.35% RIO +2.35% added 2.5% in London and Anglo American PLC UK:AAL +1.56% gained 1.6%. 

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UK:UKX +0.45% climbed 0.5% to 6,656.99.
Chip maker ARM Holdings PLC UK:ARM +1.79% ARMH +1.92% climbed 1.8%, after analysts at J.P. Morgan Cazenove said in a note that inventory data looks supportive of a continuing up-cycle for the sector. 

Another chip maker, STMicroelectronics NV FR:STM +2.11% added 2.1% in Paris.
France’s CAC 40 index FR:PX1 +0.56% rose 0.6% to 3,996.31. 

Germany’s DAX 30 index DX:DAX +0.76% put on 0.8% to 8,400.20. 

Outside the major indexes, SBM Offshore NV NL:SBMO -2.29% dropped 2.3%, after Morgan Stanley cut the oil-services firm to underweight from equal-weight. Read: Ahead of OPEC meeting, oil-services firms drop on broker downgrade
 
Shares of tire maker Pirelli & C. SpA IT:PC +3.08% put on 3.1%, after Goldman Sachs lifted the firm to neutral from sell. 

Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter based in London. Follow her on Twitter @sarasjolin.