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European Stocks Close Higher on U.S. Inflation Data; Meggitt Up 16% on Takeover Bid

GLYN KIRK | AFP | Getty Images
  • European stocks closed higher Wednesday after fresh inflation data out of the U.S.
  • Investors also digested another batch of corporate earnings reports.
  • Thyssenkrupp, ABN AMRO and Deliveroo are among the companies reporting their results.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as data out of the U.S. offered a tentative sign that inflation may have peaked.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed up by 0.4%, with construction and materials adding 1.1% to lead gains with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Trading in Europe started the day in a similar fashion to Asia-Pacific, where shares closed mixed on Wednesday.

However, the U.S. Labor Department's Consumer Price Index data showed inflation increasing by 0.5% in July after a 0.9% rise in June, the largest month-to-month drop for 15 months. The annual figure remained at 5.4%, matching the steepest inflationary climb since August 2008.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, came in at 0.3% monthly, shy of a 0.4% forecast and well below June's 0.9% rise.

The figures offered some hope that the spike in inflation due to supply chain disruptions had peaked, which could cool speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve may tighten policy and hike interest rates sooner than expected.

U.S. stocks jumped to new highs at Wall Street's open following the news, having closed at record highs on Tuesday following the U.S. Senate's passing of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which earmarks $550 billion in new spending for areas including transportation and the electric grid.

The Senate's infrastructure plan is expected to help give the economy a boost as peak growth slows following the reopening from the pandemic.

Back in Europe, German non-harmonized CPI inflation came in at 3.8% year on year and 0.9% month on month in July, the Federal Statistics Office confirmed Wednesday. Harmonized inflation was 3.1% and 0.5%, respectively.

Earnings in focus

Earnings releases in Europe came from E.On, Thyssenkrupp, Uniper, ABN AMRO, Prudential, Deliveroo and Admiral Group.

ABN AMRO shares climbed 8.6% after swinging back to a second-quarter profit of 393 million euros ($460.32 million), beating analyst expectations. The Dutch bank also announced plans to resume dividend payments.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, British aerospace and defense company Meggitt surged 16.1% after announcing that it had received an unsolicited takeover offer from U.S. rival TransDigm. The proposal valued Meggitt at 900 pence per share ($12.47 per share), exceeding the 800 pence-per-share agreement currently in place with Parker-Hannifin.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, British wealth manager Quilter fell 7.2% after a adopting cautious tone regarding market volatility in its half-year earnings report.

Meanwhile, U.K. food delivery firm Deliveroo sank 6.1% after reporting results for the first time since its disastrous IPO. The company doubled orders in the six months to June 30, while losses narrowed slightly to £104.8 million.

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— CNBC's Ryan Browne, Weizhen Tan and Pippa Stevens contributed to this report.

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