(Bloomberg) -- European stocks rose after dovish comments from a European Central Bank official in a light trading day with markets in the UK and US closed for a public holiday. 

The Stoxx 600 Index ended 0.3% higher, with auto and rates-sensitive utilities stocks among those faring best, while banks and technology shares posted modest declines.

The ECB shouldn’t rule out lowering borrowing costs at both its June and July meetings, Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau said, pushing back against other monetary officials who are uncomfortable with the idea of consecutive cuts.

Among individual movers, EFG International AG gained following a Bloomberg News report after the market close Friday that Julius Baer Group Ltd. was exploring a potential acquisition of its rival Swiss private bank. Julius Baer slipped. 

Europe’s better-than-feared earnings season has provided support for an historic stock rally, but investors’ focus may now shift to a still-uncertain macro picture. The advance in equities has also slowed as questions over the pace and extent of interest rate cuts mounts.


Read more: Not Everyone Is Bullish on European Equities: Taking Stock

“Given the recent positive economic surprises in Europe and China, we remain positive on European equities, with relatively low positioning in Europe from international investors,” said Ulrich Urbahn, head of multi-asset strategy and research at Berenberg.

For more on equity markets:

  • Not Everyone Is Bullish on European Equities: Taking Stock
  • M&A Watch Europe: Julius Baer, BBVA, Persimmon, NatWest

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--With assistance from Farah Elbahrawy.

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