European Shares Edge Higher On Economic Optimism

European stocks advanced on Wednesday as a slew of upbeat U.S. economic data released overnight soothed concerns about an economic downturn.

Meanwhile, investors shrugged off the results of a key survey showing that German consumer confidence has fallen for the first time since October.

Pollster GfK said its forward-looking survey of around 2,000 people fell to minus 25.4 points in July from 24.4 points in June.

Elsewhere, a measure of France’s consumer confidence climbed to 85 in June from 83 in May.

Market participants now await a panel discussion of central bankers in Sintra, including European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda and Bank of England’s Andrew Bailey later in the day for further policy direction.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up half a percent at 455.31 after ending flat with a positive bias on Tuesday.

The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 both climbed around 0.7 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 added half a percent.

Travel stocks surged on optimism about U.S. economic growth. Airline EasyJet rose about 1 percent, Lufthansa rose half a percent and Wizz Air Holdings climbed 2.3 percent.

Software firm Sage soared 4.5 percent after a brokerage upgrade.

Mulberry Group jumped 3.2 percent after reiterating its full-year guidance.

Swiss banking group UBS was marginally higher after it unveiled plans to cut more than half of Credit Suisse Group AG’s workforce.

Swiss Life Holding AG declined 2.6 percent. The life insurance firm said it is well on track to achieve its 2024 financial targets.

Equinor ASA, a petroleum company, edged up slightly after Norwegian authorities approved its plans to develop and operate subsea fields- Irpa and Verdande, and the production well Andvare.

French supermarket chain Carrefour rallied 3.5 percent after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage with an “overweight” rating.

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