European stocks gained for a sixth consecutive session on Wednesday, though underlying sentiment remained cautious amid continued Covid-19 fears and inflation concerns.
Slovakia’s hospitals are in a critical situation dealing with a surge in coronavirus infections. Elsewhere, the Austrian government is set to approve measures to limit access to services for unvaccinated people.
Dutch front-month contract for wholesale gas rose about 5 percent to extend gains from the previous session, adding to concerns around soaring costs across the continent.
Euro zone government bond yields edged lower ahead of final euro zone consumer price index data and comments from ECB board member Isabel Schnabel due later in the day.
The British pound hit its highest level against the euro since February 2020, as a surge in inflation to 10-year highs fueled bets of an interest rate hike as early as next month.
Official data showed that U.K. consumer price inflation advanced to 4.2 percent in October from 3.1 percent in September. The rate was forecast to climb to 3.9 percent.
The upward pressure was largely driven by the surge in the cost of housing and transport.
The pan European Stoxx 600 inched up 0.1 percent to 489.76 after rising 0.2 percent on Tuesday.
The German DAX rose 0.1 percent and France’s CAC 40 index was marginally higher while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.3 percent on rate hike worries.
In stock-specific action, Swiss luxury firm Richemont advanced 1.6 percent to extend gains for a fifth day on brokerage upgrades.
Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA dropped 1.2 percent. The dialysis company said it would cut around 500 to 750 jobs in Germany as part of its recently announced plan of 5,000 job cuts worldwide.
British software firm Sage Group climbed 2.8 percent. The company said it expects a continued strong performance in its cloud offering to drive revenue growth in the year ahead.
Energy stocks were moving lower, with Royal Dutch Shell losing more than 1 percent, after U.S. gasoline stocks fell more than expected last week, heightening pressure on the Biden administration to release oil from emergency reserves.
Renewable power generator and network operator SSE Plc lost almost 4 percent after reporting a 25 percent drop in renewable power output.
CMC Markets, a financial services company, plunged 5.5 percent after it posted a significant decline its pre-tax income for the first-half ended in September.
Ophthalmology company Nicox SA gained about 1 percent in Paris. The company announced that it was granted patent for blepharitis product candidate NCX 4251 in Europe.
Basler AG shares tumbled 3.2 percent. The company said that it has been target of an external cyberattack causing massive disruptions of the company IT-infrastructure.
Therefore, all IT systems of the group were instantly shut down in a controlled manner.
Siemens Healthineers AG jumped as much as 5 percent. The medical technology firm said that it expects an accelerated comparable revenue growth of 6 to 8 percent per annum for fiscal years 2023 to 2025.
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