Key U.S. inflation print in focus

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LONDON — European markets were mixed on Wednesday as global investors await a key US inflation print.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was roughly flat by early afternoon. Travel and leisure stocks gained 1.3% while health care stocks slid 0.9%.

July’s US consumer price index report, due at 1:30 pm London time, could confirm or dash hopes that rising prices have leveled off, and will inform the US Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening trajectory ahead of its September meeting. Economists broadly expect the report to show a slight cooling of inflation on the back of Slipping oil prices.

US stock Futures were flat in early premarket trade ahead of the report, after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell for a third consecutive day during Tuesday’s regular trading hours.

Shares in Asia-Pacific declined on Wednesday, led by more than 2% losses for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index after Chinese inflation data rose. The producer price index for July rose by 4.2% annually while consumer prices increased by 2.7%, both slightly below analyst expectations.

On the data front in Europe, German final July consumer price inflation came in at 7.5% year-on-year and 0.9% monthly, official figures revealed Wednesday, roughly in line with expectations.

Earnings remain a key driver of individual share price movements in Europe. Ahold Delhaize, ABN AMRO, E.On, TUI Group, Metro, Deliveroo, Prudential and Aviva were among the major companies reporting before the bell on Wednesday.

British insurer Aviva saw its shares jump more than 11% by afternoon trade after upbeat first-half earnings.

Ahold Delhaize shares gained 8% in early trade after the Dutch retailer reported strong second-quarter earnings and shelved plans to spin off its non-food retailer Bol.com due to unfavorable market conditions.

Vestas shares jumped 8.6% to lead the Stoxx 600 after retaining its guidance despite missing second-quarter earnings expectations. The Danish wind turbine company said its price power was improving.

At the bottom of the index, German pharmaceutical company Evotec slid 12% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to “underweight.”

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