LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets rallied for a second day after the U.K. reported that inflation slowed in July, boosting expectations that the Bank of England will keep interest rates at a record low for the time being. Asian indices also rose.
In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.49% to 6,774.48, while in Frankfurt the DAX added 0.97% to 9,334.66. In Paris, the CAC 40 gained 0.97% to 9,334.66.
Investors in the U.K. took heart from a report that the consumer prices index grew by 1.6% in July, cooling from 1.9% in June, amid a fall in clothing prices as well as declines in the cost of alcohol, financial services and food and non-alcoholic drinks. A separate report showed that annual house-price growth in the U.K. slowed to 10.2% in June from 10.4% in May.
On Wednesday the Bank of England is due to publish minutes from its August 6-7 monetary policy meeting, while the U.S. Federal Reserve will release minutes from late July. Both reports will come a day before central bankers gather in Jackson Hole, Wyo., to brainstorm about the economy and monetary policy.
For more on the European market rally, watch the video below:
Imperial Tobacco Group (ITYBF) gained 1.98% to 2,576 pence in London after posting a smaller-than-expected drop in nine-month sales. The company said sales fell 1% to 4.75 billion pounds.
Imperial Tobacco also reiterated its outlook for "modest" growth in adjusted earnings per share, and said it expects to complete the $7.1 billion acquisition of several cigarette brands including Winston and Salem from Reynolds American and Lorillard in 2015, without offering further details.
Among decliners, BHP Billiton (BHP) fell 4.26% to 1,979 pence after the world's largest mining firm announced plans to spin off coal and other non-core assets to create a new listed company potentially worth about $15 billion. The demerger would be the industry's largest off-off in at least a decade.
In Copenhagen, A. P. Moeller-Maersk rose 4.25% to 13,500 kroner after the Danish shipping to oil conglomerate raised its full-year profit forecast by $500 million to $4.5 billion and announced plans to buy back up to $1 billion in shares in the next 12 months. The stock is up 45.3% over a year ago.
Moeller-Maersk's group earnings rose a greater than expected 9% in the second quarter to $3.085 billion, while revenue increased by 2.3% as higher container volumes and average oil prices were offset by lower average container freight rates.
The company also said it expects its result for the Maersk Line container shipping unit to be "significantly" above the 2013 result following a strong first-half and amid an expected 4% to 5% jump in global demand.
Asian stocks ended the day in positive territory. In Japan the Nikkei added 0.83% to 15,450, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 0.67% to 25,122.95.
Top gainers in Hong Kong included Galaxy Entertainment after the Macau casino operator posted record half-year revenues, adjusted Ebitda and net profit attributable to shareholders. Half-year revenue jumped 25% to HK$38.4 billion ($4.95 billion), while adjusted Ebitda advanced 26% to HK$7.3 billion. That stock rose 3.43% to HK$61.90.
Later Tuesday, investors will be looking to Washington for latest figures from the U.S. Commerce Department on housing starts, or the number of new units under construction, in the year through July. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are predicting a figure of 965,000, compared to 893,000 for June, a sign that growth in the world's largest economy is gathering pace.