European shares inch up ahead of US inflation data


France and Germany's benchmark stock indexes briefly touched record highs on Tuesday after data showed U.S. consumer prices unexpectedly rose last month, adding to nervousness in a week packed with interest rate decisions by major central banks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 slipped 0.2% by the close, as traders pulled back bets the Federal Reserve could start interest rate cuts as soon as March after the U.S. consumer prices report.

France's CAC-40 index eased 0.1% after rising as much as 0.4% and hitting an all-time high of 7,582.47 points intraday.

Germany's DAX gained as much as 0.3% and touched a record high of 16,837.18 points, before closing the session flat.

Also weighing on the market, British wage growth slowed by the most in almost two years, though pay is probably still rising too fast for the Bank of England to relax its stance against cutting interest rates.

"I'm expecting all the central banks to remind markets they could still hike if they want to," said Giles Coghlan, chief market analyst at brokerage GCFX.

"The last thing they want to do is to signal they've won the inflation battle prematurely, because that will just allow markets to run positive on risk."

Carl Zeiss Meditec jumped 6.5% after the medical technology firm reported higher annual revenue and a more optimistic forecast.

Italy's Banco BPM rose 1.2% after pledging to moderately grow profits through 2026.

Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), the producer of blockbuster obesity drug Wegovy, fell 1.2% after a study showed patients regained weight after stopping rival Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY)'s weight-loss drug.

AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) gained 0.8% on plans to buy U.S.-based vaccine developer Icosavax in a $1.1 billion deal.

Hargreaves Lansdown fell 6.7% after Britain's market watchdog expressed concerns about the amount of interest and fees charged by some investment platforms.

BT Group (LON:BT) fell 3.9%, with traders linking the drop to British communications regulator Ofcom proposing a ban on mid-contract price hikes linked to inflation.

Telefonica (NYSE:TEF), which owns British telecom services provider O2 UK, was down 5.4%, as its shares traded ex-dividend in Madrid.

Hannover Re advanced 2.1% as the reinsurer said it expected a 24% surge in 2024 net profit over its current-year guidance.

Meanwhile, Warsaw's WIG 20 eased 0.9%, a day after Donald Tusk was appointed as the country's prime minister.

Source : Economy News by Reuters / Dec 12, 2023 logo


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