European stocks edge up

European shares inched up on Friday with riskier assets still in demand following a broadly neutral shift in US monetary policy, and the euro dipped after rating agency S&P downgraded the European Union from triple-A.

Reuters reported that the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent, while US stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street.

That kept the European equity benchmark set for a weekly gain of about 3.3 percent, its biggest in eight months, as sentiment stayed upbeat after the US Federal Reserve sugar-coated Wednesday’s modest cut in stimulus with a signal that interest rates were likely to stay low for longer.

“Despite the cut, the Fed is still injecting $75bn a month in liquidity, which will continue to support equities going forward,” said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading at Global Equities in Paris.

“2013 has been the year during which the global financial crisis really ended, and with pro-active central banks, stocks should extend their rally next year now that systemic risks are gone and global growth picks up.”

The euro was down about 0.1 percent against the dollar at $1.3630 after hitting a session low of $1.3625, its lowest since December 5, following a downgrade by Standard & Poor’s of the European Union’s credit rating. It cut the bloc to AA+ from AAA, citing rising tensions in budget negotiations.

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