European shares rally after cautious Fed tone, FTSE hits record
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.5 pct, hits 7-1/2 year high
* FTSE 100 hits new record high; 7,000 mark in sight
* DAX underperforms as euro off 12-year lows
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, March 19 (Reuters) - European stocks rose on Thursday in a broad-based rally after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a less aggressive timeline for raising interest rates.
At 0855 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.5 percent at 1,598.71 points, after hitting a new 7-1/2 year high earlier in the session.
Britain's FTSE 100 hit a record high of 6,982.79 points, beating its previous peak of 6,974.26 points set on March 2.
The Fed removed the word "patient" from its statement in terms of raising interest rates, as expected, but also downgraded its views on the economy and inflation and lowered its interest rate trajectory. That signalled a far more gradual path to policy normalisation than many investors had foreseen.
"(Fed Chair Janet) Yellen keeps some room for manoeuvre. Lowering the outlook made sense given the rise in the dollar and a recent batch of disappointing macro data," said Lazard Freres Gestion strategist Julien-Pierre Nouen. Continuación...