European shares rally after cautious Fed tone, FTSE hits record
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.4 pct, hits 7 1/2-year high
* FTSE 100 hits record high; 7,000 mark in sight
* DAX underperforms as euro off 12-year lows
By Francesco Canepa and Blaise Robinson
LONDON\PARIS, March 19 (Reuters) - European stocks edged higher on Thursday in a broad-based rally after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled interest rates would not be raised anytime soon.
At 1220 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.4 percent at 1,595.79 points, after climbing to a 7 1/2-year high earlier in the session.
Britain's FTSE 100 also reached a record high of 6,982.79 points, beating the previous peak of 6,982.79 points it set on March 2.
The Fed removed the word "patient" from its statement in terms of raising interest rates, as expected, but also lowered its forecasts for the economy and inflation and for its interest rate trajectory. That signalled a 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...