Key U.S. inflation print in focus

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

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was roughly flat by late morning. Travel and leisure stocks gained 1.3% while health care stocks slid 0.8%.

July’s U.S. consumer price index report, due at 1:30 p.m. London time, could confirm or dash hopes that rising prices have leveled off, and will inform the U.S. 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.

U.S. 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 movement 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.

Ahold Delhaize shares gained 7.7% in early trade after the Dutch retailer reported strong second-quarter earnings and shelved plans to spin off its non-food retailer due to unfavorable market conditions.

Vestas shares jumped 10.6% 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 9% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to “underweight.”

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