Europe Markets

European markets close higher ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up by 0.7%, with autos adding 2.7% to lead gains as all sectors and most major bourses were in positive territory.
  • Biden will succeed President Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States shortly after noon ET.
  • U.K. inflation doubled in December, despite stringent coronavirus restrictions over Christmas.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Wednesday, ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up by 0.7%, with autos adding 2.7% to lead gains as all sectors and most major bourses were in positive territory.

Investors around the world are watching Biden's inauguration in Washington on Wednesday, which comes after a tumultuous few months of political upheaval in the U.S.

Biden will succeed President Donald Trump as the 46th president of the United States shortly after noon ET. His inauguration speech will focus on the need to bring the country together on the heels of a violent riot on Capitol Hill and amid extreme partisanship in Congress.

Investors will also be on the lookout for any further information about Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan announced last week. On Tuesday, Janet Yellen, Biden's designated nominee for Treasury Secretary, endorsed higher aid spending and urged lawmakers to "act big."

Stateside, stocks climbed for a second day, while a slew of strong corporate earnings boosted sentiment on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose around 160 points. The S&P 500 advanced 1% to an intraday all-time high, led by the communication services sector. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.7% to a record amid a pop in Netflix shares.

Netflix soared almost 14% after the company reported strong subscriber growth and said it's considering share buybacks.

Back in Europe, Italian investors watched for reaction in the stock market Wednesday after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte won a confidence vote in the upper house Senate on Tuesday, following a similar vote in the lower house of parliament on Monday.

The results of the vote enable him to remain in office after a junior partner quit his coalition last week, prompting political uncertainty. The FTSE MIB closed up by 0.9%.

On the data front, U.K. inflation doubled in December, despite stringent coronavirus restrictions over the Christmas period. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation climbed to 0.6% in December from 0.3% in November, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Stocks on the move

Education group Pearson and fashion house Burberry gained 8.1% and 3.5% respectively, as investors reacted positively to reassuring trading updates.

Technical products and services company Diploma gained 6.3% after reporting a surge in revenue and Johnson Matthey added 6.5% after announcing new manufacturing capacity for components used in green hydrogen production.

— CNBC.com staff contributed to this market report.

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