European stocks closed higher on Wednesday, calming after a strong session stateside that saw the S&P 500 hit a fresh record high.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended up around 0.6%, having fluctuated at the start of trading. The banking index gained almost 1.4% to lead gains, while retail and utilities dipped into negative territory.
Market participants in Europe tentatively followed the positive sentiment on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite set records. The S&P 500 rose to an all-time high Tuesday, wiping out all its losses from the market sell-off caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Itconfirms the start of a new bull market.
The broader market index climbed 0.2% to 3,389.78, a record close. The Nasdaq Composite also hit a record, climbing 0.7% to 11,210.84.
Meanwhile, investors continue to monitor developments in the U.S.-China trade war.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he has postponed trade talks with China and does not want to speak with China right now. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows later told reporters that there were no new high-level talks scheduled between Washington and Beijing.
The world’s two largest economies agreed on an initial “phase one” trade pact in January, but geopolitical tensions have risen and there are doubts as to whether China can honor its commitments under the deal.
In Europe, U.K. inflation unexpectedly jumped to a four-month high in July at 1.0%, surpassing expectations of 0.6%, which would have been unchanged from June.
On the earnings front, Maersk, the world’s largest shipping firm, beat second-quarter profit expectations on Wednesday and said it expects demand to pick up in the third quarter, but warned of a “significant decline” across the year. Maersk shares were up 5% by the afternoon.
Royal Unibrew was the biggest winner on the Stoxx 600, its shares rallying 8% after the Danish brewer hiked its outlook following a strong June performance.
At the other end of the European blue-chip index, Galapagos plunged 29% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected its treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.