Europe Markets

European stocks close higher as strong earnings boost sentiment; tech up 2.7%

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Key Points
  • U.S. consumer prices rose slightly more than expected in September, according to fresh data.
  • Traders are keeping a wary eye on uncertainties surrounding inflation, economic growth and surging energy prices.
  • French energy company Spie climbed 8.5% after withdrawing from a race to buy utility company Engie's services unit.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as strong earnings offset concerns about global growth and inflation.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.7%, having started the session in the red. Tech stocks bounced 2.6% to lead gains, while banks fell 1.6%.

Investors in Europe were digesting the latest inflation numbers out of the U.S. The consumer price index jumped 0.4% in September from the month prior and 5.4% year over year, the Labor Department reported Wednesday, against expected increases of 0.3% monthly and 5.3% annually in a Dow Jones poll of economists.

Stateside, stock markets ticked higher Wednesday as investors digested the fresh inflation data as well as third-quarter earnings reports.

JPMorgan Chase beat expectations on Wednesday on the back of a $1.5 billion boast from better-than-expected loan losses, while Delta Air Lines also topped revenue expectations. 

Goldman SachsBank of AmericaMorgan StanleyWells Fargo and Citigroup are also due to report this week.

In the meantime, global growth concerns remain in the foreground. On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund said it was now less optimistic about the global economy for 2021, but said in its latest report that it still sees reasonable growth over the medium term. 

In Asia-Pacific markets early Wednesday morning, shares in mainland China rose as investors reacted to the release of Chinese trade data for September. The figures showed exports beat expectations but import growth disappointed, according to data released Wednesday by the customs agency.

Still, traders are keeping a wary eye on uncertainties surrounding inflation, economic growth and surging energy prices.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told CNBC's Hadley Gamble Wednesday the Kremlin is not using energy as a weapon against Europe, before adding that Moscow stands ready to help the region as its energy crisis continues.

On the data front back in Europe, U.K. GDP was 6.9% higher in August than the same period last year, slightly outstripping a Reuters consensus forecast of 6.7%. The British economy is now 0.8% below its pre-Covid level, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In addition, the IEA's World Energy Outlook 2021 report was released on Wednesday, and warned that clean energy progress remained "far too slow to put global emissions into sustained decline towards net zero."

Stocks on the move

In terms of individual share price movement in Europe, Spain's Banco de Sabadell fell 7.1% to lead a broad decline for the banking sector.

THG shares were down 2.9%, after plunging as much as 35% Tuesday, which was triggered by the British e-commerce company's CEO hitting out at short sellers during a capital markets day.

Toward the top of the Stoxx 600, French energy company Spie climbed 8.5% after withdrawing from a race to buy utility company Engie's services unit.

British investment firm Man Group jumped 7.6% after a strong earnings report.

An upbeat earnings forecast also came from German software group SAP, and French luxury goods company LVMH posted robust quarterly sales.

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- CNBC's Ryan Browne, Maggie Fitzgerald and Eustance Huang contributed to this market report.