European stocks grind higher in pre-holiday trading

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LONDON (Reuters) – European shares edged higher on Thursday, with a pre-holiday lull making for a quiet trading session aside from a handful of corporate updates.

The pan-European STOXX 600 () rose 0.2% by 0821 GMT, with media, healthcare and utilities sectors leading gains.

All eyes will turn to the Bank of England’s monetary policy decision, due at 1200 GMT, one of the last big central bank meetings this year.

While the BoE policymakers are not expected to move the needle on rates, Swedish central bank is seen coming out with a 25 basis point rate hike, making it the first in Europe to pull borrowing costs from sub-zero territory.

Investors have largely shrugged off a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump as a Republican-controlled Senate is widely expected not to vote to remove Trump from office.

Swiss specialty chemicals Clariant (S:) rose 2.9% after saying it was selling a unit to U.S.-based PolyOne Corp (N:) for $1.6 billion.

European chipmakers Infineon Technologies (DE:) and STMicroelectronics (BN:) rose about 0.3% after U.S. rival Micron Technology (O:) said it expected a recovery in 2020 after a “cyclical bottom” in the second quarter.

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