Economic news

Rate Hike Concerns Weigh on European Shares ahead of US Inflation Test

  • STOXX 600 falls 0.4%, UK's FTSE 100 up 0.1%
  • ECB to project 2024 inflation staying above 3%, source says
  • Zara owner Inditex posts better-than-expected 40% profit jump
  • Aviva to sell Singlife joint venture stake for $1 bln
  • BP boss Looney quits over personal relationships with colleagues

Sept 13 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday, as investors braced for a crucial U.S. inflation report due later in the day for cues on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy path amid a hawkish shift in expectations from the European Central Bank's rate decision this week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 slid 0.4% by 0747 GMT, with rate-sensitive tech stocks down 0.5%.

U.S. consumer prices likely increased by the most in 14 months in August, but an expected moderate rise in underlying inflation could encourage the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates on hold at its meeting next week.

"If an upside surprise does land, it will refocus markets on the short-term path for policy rates with the odds of a Q4 hike likely to rise significantly," said Nicholas Rees, FX market analyst at Monex Europe.

Meanwhile, the ECB expects inflation in the euro zone to remain above 3% next year, a source said, adding to worries about a tenth consecutive interest rate hike on Thursday.

Current market pricing reflects nearly a 75% chance the central bank will raise rates by 25 basis points, up from around 40% on Monday.

Zara owner Inditex slid 2.3% despite beating expectations with a 40% jump in half-year profit.

"Operating expenses are rising at double-digit rates, so despite the uptick in sales as fashion fans raced to refresh wardrobes, there may be concern that any misstep in the style stakes may hurt the bottom line," said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.

UK's blue-chip FTSE 100 added 0.1%, outperforming regional peers helped by gains in financial stocks, while oil major Shell climbed 0.8% as crude prices hovered near a 10-month peak on supply concerns.

Aviva rose 3.2% after the British insurer said it is quitting its Singlife joint venture and selling its 25.9% stake in Singapore Life Holdings and two debt instruments to Sumitomo Life.

A weaker pound after data showed British economic output fell more than expected in July also boosted the exporter-heavy FTSE 100.

London-listed shares of BP were flat, recovering from early losses after CEO Bernard Looney resigned on Tuesday with immediate effect for failing to fully disclose details of past personal relationships with colleagues.

Investors also await industrial production data for UK and the euro zone due later in the day.

Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K

Source: Reuters

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