European shares rose on Wednesday, heading for their second straight month of gains, on cooler-than-expected euro zone inflation and hopes for easing COVID curbs in China.

Broad-based gains drove the pan-European STOXX 600 index 0.7% higher after three straight sessions in the red. The index’s near 7% gain in November has set it on course for the best month since July.

Luxury stocks were among the biggest boosts to the STOXX 600 on Wednesday, followed by tech and auto stocks.

Miners erased early losses to gain 0.9%, with Rio Tinto up 0.4% after the company said its iron ore shipments in 2023 would be in the same range as this year’s forecast. It warned that costs would rise though.

“Optimism about China reopening is really starting to filter through,” said Giles Coghlan, chief market analyst at HYCM.

He said investor sentiment was getting a boost from accelerating vaccination plans by the Chinese government and a softening stance from health officials regarding the country’s zero-COVID policies.

Meanwhile, data showed consumer prices in the euro zone grew 10.0% in November after a 10.6% increase in October. The figure was well below expectations for 10.4% in a Reuters poll of analysts, bolstering the case for a slowdown in European Central Bank rate hikes next month.

But HYCM’s Coghlan warned that gains in Europe may not last, with the possibility of a hawkish tone from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later in the day. U.S. jobs data and a slew of PMIs later this week could also cause volatility, he said.

With the energy crisis seen persisting in Europe, Citigroup said on Wednesday it expects the euro zone and the UK to slip into recession by the end of this year and forecast contractions of 0.4% and 1.5%, respectively, for the coming year.

Among single stocks, argenx SE jumped 5.6% after the Dutch biopharmaceutical company announced a deal to acquire a U.S. FDA Priority Review Voucher (PRV) for $102 million.


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