The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered 0.15% below the flatline
European stocks were muted on Wednesday, with global markets looking to close out a positive first half of the year.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered 0.15% below the flatline in early trade, with tech stocks gaining 0.5% while banks and autos shed 0.8%.
European investors will be monitoring a host of economic data on Wednesday. U.K. first-quarter GDP was slightly below expectations at -1.6% quarter-on-quarter, while business investment dropped 10.7% quarterly amid stringent lockdown measures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that British household savings grew sharply during the period, lifting hopes of pent-up consumer spending as the economy reopens.
After a sharp rise in June economic sentiment lifted European stock indexes in the previous session, focus will be on German unemployment figures and euro zone inflation data due later in the day. A series of French, Italian and wider euro zone inflation data will also be published Wednesday.
Global markets are looking ahead to potentially significant U.S. labour market data later in the week, hoping to gauge whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will be forced to consider tightening monetary policy sooner than planned. The Labor Department’s key jobs report is due Friday.
Shares in Asia-Pacific were modestly higher on Wednesday despite a slowdown in China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), while U.S. stock futures made fractional gains in early premarket trade.
In corporate news, the European Commission (EC) on Tuesday announced that it had begun an in-depth study of British Airways parent IAG’s planned takeover of Spain’s Air Europa.
In company news, Dutch eyewear store operator Grandvision surged 14 per cent as Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica said it had decided to go ahead with a planned takeover of the company. EssilorLuxottica’s shares were up 1.3 per cent.
There were no major share price movements in early trade. Swiss chemicals company Clariant dropped 3% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600, while Swedish cloud communication firm Sinch gained 3.6%.