European stocks opened higher Thursday as Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell flagged a moderation in the pace of interest rate hikes, while China signalled a softer approach to fighting Covid. In initial deals, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of major companies rose 0.2 percent to 7,591.25 points, compared with the closing level on Wednesday. In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX index increased 0.9 percent to 14,527.80 points and the Paris CAC 40 won 0.4 percent to 6,762.74. “Powell … signalled a potential slowing of interest rate hikes,” noted equity analyst Matt Britzman at UK stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown. “Markets have been clinging to every scrap of positive news lately and this was a continuation of that trend.” Asian indices also advanced but the dollar sank against rival currencies. In a much-anticipated speech Wednesday, Powell said the full effects of the Fed’s belt-tightening had yet to be felt but that it “makes sense to moderate the pace of our rate increases as we approach the level of restraint that will be sufficient to bring inflation down”. He signalled the US central bank’s December gathering would likely see officials lift borrowing costs by 50 basis points, having pushed them up by a bumper 75 points at the past four meetings.