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European shares scaled near seven-week highs on Wednesday following strong results from Britain’s Reckitt Benckiser and Russia-exposed lender UniCredit, while investors awaited a U.S. Federal reserve policy decision later in the day.
The STOXX 600 index rose 0.4%, with sentiment also getting a lift after upbeat results from U.S. mega-caps Microsoft Corp and Google parent Alphabet Inc overnight.
But investors were cautious amid Europe’s energy supply worries, with focus also on the U.S. Federal Reserve for clues on the path of future rate hikes.
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The Fed is expected to hike its key interest rate by 75 basis points, with its decision due at 1800 GMT.
Italy’s MIB index jumped 0.6%, as shares of UniCredit rose 6.0% after the lender raised its 2022 outlook.
Reckitt Benckiser rose 5.0% as it raised its full-year revenue forecast, while shares of French payment company Worldline jumped 13.8% to top the STOXX 600 as first-half results beat estimates.
“We had the backdrop of results from Microsoft and Alphabet, which have kind of soothed investors to a degree. It’s one of those moments where investors are looking at these results in Europe and thinking … business has been resilient,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell.
“In terms of sectors where the damage is being done, I think most investors are sort of pricing that in now.”
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Germany’s DAX gave up session gains as Deutsche Bank and sportswear maker Adidas weighed after cautious outlook from both.
Miner Rio Tinto slid 3.0% after a drop in first-half profit, while LVMH was flat after it struck a cautious note on the pace of recovery in the key Chinese market.
Second-quarter earnings for companies part of the STOXX 600 are expected to increase 23.1% from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv. Of the 35% that have reported so far, nearly 60% have topped estimates.
Technology stocks were among the top sectoral gainers, as chip stocks cheered a U.S. legislation to boost semiconductor manufacturing.
Spanish stocks slipped marginally. The country raised its inflation forecasts for 2022 and 2023 and lowered its economic growth target for 2023. (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
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