European stocks inched toward record levels on Wednesday, helped by energy and consumer stocks, while strong economic data from U.S. and Europe buoyed investor sentiment.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4% in early trading, after touching a record high in the previous session.
A strong expansion in U.S. and European factory activity in May lifted world shares to record highs on Tuesday, with investors looking to U.S. jobs data on Friday for confirmation of a solid recovery in the world's largest economy.
Oil and gas stocks rose 1.1% to lead sectoral gains in Europe as crude prices extended gains after OPEC and its allies stuck to their plan to cautiously bring back oil supply to the markets in June and July. [O/R]
Swedish truckmaker Volvo rose 2.7% as its board is proposing that the proceeds from the sale of UD Trucks be distributed to shareholders.
Danish luxury TV and stereo maker Bang & Olufsen jumped 11.9% after providing an upbeat earnings forecast for full-year.