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European Stocks Largely Higher; M&S Soars as Turnaround Takes Hold

European stock markets edged higher Wednesday, boosted by solid corporate earnings ahead of the release of key U.S. inflation data.

At 3:30 AM ET (0830 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded largely flat, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.4% and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.1%.

The European quarterly corporate earnings season is in full swing, and has been generally supportive for the overall market.

The good news largely continued Wednesday, with Marks & Spencer (OTC:MAKSY) stock soaring over 15% to their highest in two years after the British retailer beat forecasts for first-half profit and raised its full-year outlook, suggesting its latest attempt at an elusive turnaround is succeeding.

Alstom (PA:ALSO) stock climbed over 8% after the French train maker reported a smaller-than-expected cash outflow for the first half of its financial year, as it integrates the rail unit it bought from Canada's Bombardier (OTC:BDRBF).

Infineon (OTC:IFNNY) stock rose 2.2% after the German chipmaker reported a sharp rise in fiscal fourth-quarter revenue amid robust demand for its chips, which are used in everything from cars to mobile telephones. It also forecast a strong fiscal 2022.

ABN AMRO (AS:ABNd) stock gained 3.5% after the Dutch bank announced a stock buyback on the back of reporting an unexpected 14% increase in third-quarter profit.

On the flip side, Adidas (OTC:ADDYY) stock fell 4.7% after the German sportswear company cut full-year sales and profit forecasts, citing sourcing disruptions caused by Covid-19 outbreaks, notably in Vietnam.

Away from corporate earnings, investors on both sides of the Atlantic will be keeping a wary eye

on the release of the latest U.S. consumer price index later Wednesday, amid concerns that high levels of inflation will prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates earlier than expected.

Data released earlier Wednesday showed China's factory gate inflation hit a 26-year high in October, while German consumer prices rose 4.5% on the year in October, a considerable jump from the 4.1% level seen in September.

Crude prices rose again Wednesday, after industry data showed a surprise 2.5 million barrel reduction in U.S. crude stockpiles, reinforcing the view that supply will remain constrained as demand continues to improve.

A build of about 1.9 million barrels had been expected. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's data are due later at 10:30 AM ET.

By 3:30 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $84.25 a barrel, having gained 2.7% on Tuesday, while the Brent contract rose 0.5% to $85.16, adding to the previous session’s 1.6% gain. Both contracts closed at their highest levels since Oct. 27.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,828.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1568.

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