European Stocks Close Slightly Higher

European stocks closed higher on Wednesday, with investors digesting the latest batch of economic data from the region and looking ahead to the minutes of the Federal Reserve's recent policy meeting.

The pan European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.6%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.17% and France's CAC 40 surged 0.32%, while Germany's DAX edged up 0.04%. Switzerland's SMI advanced 0.18%.

Among other markets in Europe, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and Turkiye ended higher.

Austria, Czech Republic and Poland closed weak, while Spain ended flat.

In the UK market, Hargreaves Lansdown, Ocado Group, Frasers Group, ICP, Rolls-Royce Holdings, B&M European Value Retail, Whitbread, Associated British Foods and RightMove gained 2.5 to 4.6%.

Glencore gained 2.3% after it entered into a binding amendment agreement with Metals Acquisition Corp for the sale and purchase of Glencore's Cobar copper mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Harbour Energy declined more than 2.5%. GSK, Scottish Mortgage, Shell, Intertek Group and BP shed 1 to 2%.

In Paris, Air Liquide surged nearly 2%. Hermes International, WorldLine, L'Oreal, STMicroElectronics and Saint Gobain gained 1 to 1.5%.

Teleperformance ended 2.7% down. Stellantis drifted down 1.3%, while Sanofi, TotalEnergies, ArcelorMittal and Engie lost 0.7 to 0.8%.

In the German market, Fresenius, HelloFresh, Zalando and Symrise gained 1.7 to 2.2%. Covestro, Adidas, Fresenius Medical Care and Adidas also ended notably higher.

Siemens Healthineers ended nearly 2% down. Volkswagen ended lower by about 1.3%.

Credit Suisse Group AG shares plunged more than 6%. The embattled Swiss lender said it would book a loss of up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.6bn) for the fourth quarter.

Flash survey results from S&P Global showed the euro area private sector contracted at a slower pace in November reflecting a reduced rate of loss of new business, fewer supply constraints and a pick-up in business confidence.

The composite output index unexpectedly rose to 47.8 in November from 47.3 in October. The reading was seen at 47.0.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index posted 47.3 in November, up from 46.4 a month ago and the expected level of 46.0. At the same time, the services PMI remained unchanged at 48.6, and above economists' forecast of 48.0

Germany's composite output index registered 46.4, up from October's 45.1 and hit the highest level since August. The expected score was 44.9. The services PMI dropped marginally to 46.4 from 46.5 a month ago. The index was forecast to fall to 46.2.

On the other hand, the manufacturing PMI rose to 46.7 from 45.1 in the previous month and was above economists' forecast of 45.0.

Meanwhile, the French private sector contracted for the first time since February 2021. The composite PMI came in at a 21-month low of 48.8 versus 50.2 in October. The score was forecast to fall moderately to 49.5.

At 49.4, the services PMI hit a 20-month low in November against 51.7 in the prior month. The expected score was 50.6. The manufacturing PMI unexpectedly advanced to a three-month high of 49.1 from 47.2. The expected score was 47.0.

The UK private sector contracted again in November as new orders posted its biggest fall in nearly two years as the rising cost of living squeezed demand in both the manufacturing and services sectors, a closely watched survey showed.

The S&P Global/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply composite output index registered 48.3 in November, up fractionally from 48.2 in October.

The score was expected to fall to 47.5 in November. Nonetheless, the reading remained below 50.0 for the fourth straight month suggesting contraction.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index remained unchanged at 48.8 in November, while the reading was forecast to fall to 48.0. The manufacturing PMI also held steady at 46.2 versus the expected score of 45.8.

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