European markets closed higher on Wednesday as global investors awaited the latest monetary policy decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up 0.95%, with most sectors gaining. Auto stock led gains with a 2% uptick, while oil and gas dipped 0.6%.
Investors are widely anticipating that the central bank will hold interest rates steady when it announces its latest policy decision on Wednesday. The Fed will release its quarterly update on what it expects for a number of economic indicators, including interest rates, gross domestic product, inflation and unemployment.
U.K. inflation came in below expectations Wednesday at 6.7% for August, down slightly from the previous month. Economists polled by Reuters had anticipated the headline figure would come in at 7% annually.
Goldman forecasts Brent prices reaching $100 per barrel
Goldman raised its 12-month ahead Brent forecast to $100 per barrel from $93. The commodity has rallied 30% since late June due to OPEC supply cuts and strong demand. Brent touched a high of $95.96 on Tuesday, its highest level since Nov. 2022, before shedding 0.3% at $94.02 Wednesday morning.
The firm also increased its 12-month ahead WTI price forecast to $95 a barrel from $88. WTI hit $93.74 on Tuesday, also its highest point since Nov. 2022. Prices for WTI were flat on Wednesday at $91.20 per barrel.
Analyst Daan Struyven cited modestly sharper inventory draws for the forecast increase, a trend he described as "lower for longer" supply.
CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about the increase here.
— Hakyung Kim
‘We don’t think Germany is the sick man of Europe’: Berenberg
Gerhard Orgonas, head of continental Europe mid cap research at Berenberg, discusses the German economy's recent struggles.
U.S. stocks open higher
Fed likely to keep one additional interest rate hike in 2023 dot plot, analyst says
Jamie Dutta, market analyst at Vantage, weighs in on the outlook for Federal Reserve monetary policy moves ahead of the central bank's upcoming interest rate decision.
Takeout companies soar on U.S. delivery fee ruling
Europe-listed shares of Delivery Hero and Just Eat were each up 7% after a district judge said Tuesday that food groups could sue New York City over a law capping how much they can charge restaurants for delivering meals. The ruling prompted U.S.-based delivery company shares to rise, and the knock-on effect was felt across the Atlantic.
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
Stocks at the bottom: Baloise down 8%, Talanx down 7%
Shares of Swiss insurance company Baloise were down 8% in early trading after it reported disappointing first-half results.
Profit attributable to shareholders fell to 214.7 million Swiss francs ($239 million), down from 205.7 million in 2022.
Baloise said the reduction was driven by lower profits in the life business, as well as higher costs and negative currency effects.
Shares of German insurer Talanx slid 7% after the company initiated a capital increase of up to 300 million euros Tuesday.
"This move is our response to repeated requests from investors to increase Talanx's free float and to lay the foundations for improving the shares' trading liquidity," Jan Wicke, Talanx AG's CFO, said in a press release.
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
European markets open cautiously higher
European markets opened cautiously higher on Wednesday as global investors await the latest monetary policy decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index opened 0.2% higher, with sectors spread across marginally positive and negative territory. Health-care stocks led gains with a 0.9% uptick, while oil and gas dipped 0.8%.
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
UK inflation falls below expectations to 6.7%
U.K. inflation came in at 6.7% in August, below expectations and down slightly from the previous month.
On a monthly basis, the headline consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.3%.
Economists polled by Reuters expected the headline figure to come in at 7% annually and up 0.7% month-on-month, compared to July's 6.8% and 0.4% month-on-month decline, amid a slight uptick in prices at the pump.
The full story can be found here.
— Elliot Smith
Fed 'dot plot' could be key for traders on Wednesday
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to hold rates steady Wednesday, but the central bankers will give an update on their economic outlook with the summary of economic projections, which includes one key chart that traders will have an eye on.
The so-called "dot plot" that charts the projected move in the Fed funds rate and the press conference of Chair Powell will give investors a clue as to what happens in the November meeting and into 2024.
"I think that they will keep that bias towards higher rates in there and indicate that they are willing to raise the funds rate further if the data start to show that either inflation is not slowing as they expect it to, or if the labor market remains too tight," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group.
— Jeff Cox, Jesse Pound
CNBC Pro: House prices are falling and rents are rising in the UK. These 2 stocks will benefit, analysts say
Falling house prices and rising rents are expected to benefit two U.K. stocks, according to stock analysts.
As mortgage rates go up and pile pressure on housebuilders to improve sales, these two unique stocks are poised to take advantage of the environment.
The analysts expect one of the stocks to rise by more than 60% over the next 12 months, thanks to the trend.
— Ganesh Rao
CNBC Pro: Strategist says this tech giant is the 'cheapest of all the mega-cap names' right now
Raymond James Investment Management's Matt Orton says one tech giant is the "cheapest of all the mega-cap names" right now.
It's one of "two big long-term winners" in artificial intelligence and is underappreciated in that area, he told CNBC.
— Weizhen Tan
European markets: Here are the opening calls
European markets are heading for a positive open Thursday.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 3 points higher at 7,425, Germany's DAX up 29 points at 16,194, France's CAC up 6 points at 7,277 and Italy's FTSE MIB up 18 points at 29,730, according to data from IG.
Regional investors will be keeping a close eye on the release of preliminary euro zone inflation data for November on Thursday. Final third-quarter gross domestic product data for France is also due, as are German unemployment figures for November.
— Holly Ellyatt