European shares at record high ahead of U.S. inflation gauge

European shares at record high ahead of U.S. inflation gauge

European shares notched up another record high on Wednesday as investors looked through rising COVID infections in Asia to new highs on Wall Street, after U.S. lawmakers agreed a trillion dollar boost to the economy.

The STOXX index of 600 European companies hit a new peak for an eighth consecutive session as more acquisitions and steady corporate earnings underpinned the economic outlook.

U.S. cybersecurity company NortonLifeLock (NASDAQ:NLOK) Inc said it had agreed to buy London-listed rival Avast Plc for up to $8.6 billion to create a leader in consumer security software.

Dutch bank ABN Amro said it would resume paying dividends.

The MSCI all country index was just below its lifetime high hit on Tuesday as markets held their breath ahead of the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) at 1230 GMT.

The data will likely prompt investors to update their bets on when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin tapering or scaling back the huge stimulus it put in place to help the economy withstand the pandemic.

“Ultimately it’s still an inflation story, but markets are much more comfortable with the idea of a slow move to taper bond purchases than they were say two or three months ago,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

Economists polled by Reuters estimate U.S. inflation rose 5.3% in the 12 months through July, versus 5.4% in June.

“The big question at the moment is are we at peak CPI or is there more in the tank?” Hewson said, adding that a strong figure could trigger a spike in bond yields and send jitters through stocks.

Reining in stimulus has been well flagged, however, meaning a repeat of the so-called “taper tantrum” of 2013 that shook markets when the Fed began putting the brakes on its quantitative easing program, is unlikely, said Ray Farris, chief investment officer South Asia, Credit Suisse

The FTSE MIB climbed up by 0.29% to 26,272.30. In the cash markets, the DAX  Germany was trading down 0.01%  to 15,774.65. CAC 40  in France fell  by 0.23% to 6,836.60 while the FTSE 100  in the U.K. were up by 0.44% to 7,192.35. ,at the time of writing.

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