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Stocks Inch Higher, But Gains Inconsistent

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Monetary and fiscal support measures remain "crucial" to supporting the euro area economy despite recent improvements in the outlook, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said Thursday, as she cautioned against their "premature" withdrawal.

Lagarde's dovish intervention appeared to push back against recent remarks by the Austrian and Dutch central bank governors suggesting the process of winding down the ECB's pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) could begin in Q3.

Her comments were echoed Thursday by Bank of Finland Governor and Governing Council member Olli Rhen, who said "keep calm and stay the course."