European markets open to close as investors digest U.S. inflation data

LONDON — European stocks were trading lower on Thursday early afternoon as global markets digested the latest U.S. inflation data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was 0.9% lower by midday with most sectors in negative territory apart from travel and leisure stocks.

European stocks closed lower Wednesday as investors reacted to hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation data. The consumer price index, a broad measure of everyday goods and services, soared 9.1% in June from a year ago, and above the 8.8% Dow Jones estimate.

That marked another month of the fastest pace for inflation going back to December 1981. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the so-called core CPI increased by 5.9%, compared to the 5.7% estimate.

The reading could prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates by another 75 basis points during this month’s meeting. Last month, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rates three-quarters of a percentage point to a range of 1.5%-1.75% in its most aggressive hike since 1994.

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On Wall Street, stocks traded lower as investors reacted to the inflation numbers. Overnight, U.S. stock futures were little changed on Thursday morning as traders look ahead to earnings from major U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.

Mainland China markets led gains in Asia-Pacific on Thursday as Australia’s unemployment rate fell and Singapore tightened its monetary policy.

There are no major earnings or data releases on Thursday.

The European Commission is set to announce new economic forecasts.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this market report.

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