- European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investors shrugged off hotter-than-expected euro zone inflation data.
- The benchmark closed out its seventh straight month of gains Tuesday.
- Investors are focused on August U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, which is scheduled to be released later this week.
LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investors shrugged off hotter-than-expected euro zone inflation data.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended Wednesday's session up by 0.5% provisionally, with retail shares jumping 1.9% to lead gains while basic resources slid 0.6%.
The benchmark closed lower Tuesday — but still marked its seventh straight month of gains — following the release of euro zone inflation data for August which showed consumer prices increased by 3% this month from a year ago.
This was far above expectations and the European Central Bank's 2% target. The data will put pressure on the central bank to address inflation concerns at a key meeting next week.
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Overnight, shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed, despite a private survey showing shrinking Chinese factory activity in August.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index rose slightly Wednesday, looking to build on its seven-month winning streak.
Investors are focused on August U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, which is scheduled to be released later this week, for insight into the possible path of Fed's monetary policy. Dow Jones economists expect 750,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%.
Data and earnings
German retail sales slipped by more than expected in July, the Federal Statistics Office said Wednesday, dropping 5.1% month-on-month in real terms against a Reuters forecast for a 0.9% fall. This followed gains of 4.5% in June and 4.6% in May.
The final August manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers' index) reading for the euro zone came in at 61.4, slightly below an initial flash estimate of 61.5, as factory growth and price rises remained strong.
The U.K. suffered contrasting fortunes as supply chain problems pulled the manufacturing PMI down to 60.3 from July's 60.4. IHS Markit's gauge of U.K. factory production slid to its lowest level since February.
Spain's manufacturing PMI came in at 59.5, an acceleration from 59.0 in July. However, supply chain disruptions and raw material supply and demand discrepancies mean manufacturing confidence dropped off.
On the earnings front, Swedish airline SAS posted a 1.36 billion Swedish krone ($160 million) net loss for the third quarter as travel restrictions continued to cause headwinds for air travel. Shares edged 2.4% higher.
French alcoholic beverage company Pernod Ricard beat full-year 2020/21 operating profit expectations and announced the restart of a 500 million euro ($590 million) share buyback program. The company's shares gained 3.8%.
Food delivery shares were the top individual gainers Wednesday, with Just Eat Takeaway.com and Deliveroo both rising over 6%.
At the bottom of the index, Carrefour dropped 5.5% after LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault sold his 5.7% stake in the French retailer.
British retailer WH Smith, meanwhile, fell 3.8% after forecasting that profits for the year ending August 2022 will be toward the lower end of market expectations.
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– CNBC's Ryan Browne, Eustance Huang and Tanaya Macheel contributed reporting to this story.