European shares edged lower on Wednesday on losses in technology stocks ahead of key inflation data from the United States, while gains in supermarket major Ahold Delhaize kept declines in check.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index dipped 0.1%, tracking a second straight session of losses after a strong start to the week.
A higher-than-expected US Consumer Price Index report for July could spook markets after a surprisingly robust hiring report last week. Markets are expecting a high chance of a 75 basis point interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve next month as the US central bank remains focused on taming decades-high inflation.
“Markets seem to be going into today’s all-important US CPI a little on the apprehensive side,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid wrote.
“It’s certainly possible that a decent fall in the headline number could give a market hungry for positive inflation news a big flip. We will see.”
Rate-sensitive tech stocks shed 0.5%, leading sectoral declines. Euro zone money markets now fully price in a half-point interest rate hike by the European Central Bank in September.
European chipmakers were mixed on Wednesday after US peer Micron Technology’s dour forecast sparked a fresh tech rout on Wall Street overnight.
The STOXX 600 has struggled this month on worries over gloomy economic data, rising geopolitical tensions and fears that higher interest rates could tip the economy into a recession.
But helping the STOXX 600 cut back losses on the day was a 6.8% jump in Ahold Delhaize, powering it to the top of the index.
The Dutch company said it was postponing plans for an initial public offering of its non-food retailer, Bol.com, because of unfavourable market conditions.
Wind turbine maker Vestas jumped 9% after it said it would sell its converters and control panels business to KK Wind Solutions.
Shares in ABN Amro rose 2.5% after the Dutch bank beat analyst expectations with a jump of 21% in second-quarter net profit.