European Stocks Close Higher As Investors Focus On Earnings, Economic Data

European stocks closed broadly higher on Thursday as investors indulged in some buying at several counters, shrugging off concerns about inflation and worries about imminent interest rate hikes.

Investors also digested a slew of earnings announcements and economic data from the region, and monitored updates about the tensions between the Russia and Ukraine.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.51%. Germany's DAX gained 0.65% and France's CAC 40 gained 0.3%, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged down 0.06%. Switzerland's SMI ended 0.28% up.

Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Russia, Spain and Sweden closed higher.

Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland and Turkey ended weak, while Norway and Portugal closed flat.

In the UK market, Pearson, Scottish Mortgage, Aveva Group, Fresnillo, Prudential, Burberry Group, Polymetal International, Smith (DS), Rentokil Initial and ICP gained 2 to 3.5%. IAG, Dechra Pharmaceuticals, JD Sports Fashion, Whitbread, ABRDN, AstraZeneca, RightMove and Pershing Square Holdings also ended with strong gains.

Shares of Deliveroo Plc gained 3.5% after the online food delivery company said the gross transaction value (GTV) of orders on its platform increased 36% year-on-year in the fourth quarter.

Associated British Foods declined more than 4%. The company said around 400 jobs are being cut across the fashion chain's U.K. stores as part of an overhaul of its retail management team.

Royal Mail shed about 3.7%. ITV, Natwest Group, GlaxoSmithKline, Royal Dutch Shell, Lloyds Banking Group, Glencore, Sainsbury (J) and Rio Tinto also ended sharply lower.

In the German market, HelloFresh rallied 5.5%. Merck, RWE, Deutsche Boerse, Vonovia, Siemens Healthineers, Fresenius, SAP and E.ON gained 1 to 2.6%.

Puma rallied 1.4% after it posted record sales and earnings that topped estimates.

Continental, Daimler, Covestro, BMW, Deutsche Bank, Infineon Technologies and BASF ended with sharp to moderate losses.

In Paris, Veolia, Engie, Essilor, Vivendi, Sanofi, LVMH, Air Liquide and Schenider Electric gained 1 to 2%.

BNP Paribas and ArcelorMittal both declined nearly 2%. Unibail Rodamco and Bouygues also ended notably lower. Shares of Soitec plunged 18.2% after the company announced that senior Atos executive Pierre Barnabe will succeed outgoing CEO Paul Boudre.

In the Swiss market, Zur Rose shares rallied sharply on strong quarterly earnings.

In economic news, Eurozone inflation accelerated, as estimated, to a record high in December, final data from Eurostat showed on Thursday.

The consumer price index rose 5% year-on-year after a 4.9% increase in November. This was the highest inflation on record and matched the preliminary estimate released on January 7.

Core inflation, which excludes prices of energy, food, alcohol & tobacco, held steady at 2.6% in December, as initially estimated. Compared to the previous month, consumer prices rose 0.4% in December.

Germany's producer prices grew at the strongest pace since the series began in 1949, driven by higher energy prices, Destatis reported today, adding to inflation concerns.

Producer prices grew 24.2% year-on-year in December, after rising 19.2% in November. This was the strongest year-on-year increase since the survey began in 1949 and also exceeded the economists' forecast of 19.4%.

On a monthly basis, producer price inflation advanced to 5% from 0.8% in November. Economists had forecast prices to climb again by 0.8%.

French manufacturing confidence improved more-than-expected in January, survey results from the statistical office Insee showed. The manufacturing confidence index rose to 112.0 in January from 110 in December. The score was forecast to improve marginally to 111.0.

The survey showed that the personal production expectations index fell to 23 from 26 in the previous month.

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