The broad-based major European closed higher in Wednesday trading as investors favored mining, luxury goods, and chemical stocks, while selling off bank stocks.
In economic news, the Euro area annual inflation rate was 1.2% in April, down from 1.3% in March, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. A year earlier, the rate was 1.9%. European Union annual inflation was 1.4% in April, down from 1.5% in March. A year earlier, the rate was 2.0%.
In April, the highest contribution to the annual euro area inflation rate came from food, alcohol and tobacco, followed by services, energy, and non-energy industrial goods.
In Germany, consumer prices rose 1.6% in April, compared with the same month last year, according to The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). In March, the inflation rate as measured by the consumer price index was also 1.6%. The consumer price index remained unchanged in April from March. Compared with April 2017, the prices of energy products were up 1.3% in April, and food prices rose above average, gaining 3.4% from April 2017. The prices of goods (total) in April were 1.6% higher than a year earlier.
Destatis also reported that employers in the German industry and the support services sector paid an average of EUR34.50 ($40.60) per hour worked in 2017. Germany ranked sixth within the EU in terms of the labor cost level, one place higher than in 2016. Compared with the EU average of EUR26.30, German employers paid 31% more per hour worked. Denmark had the highest labor costs per hour worked at EUR43.60, while Bulgaria had the lowest at EUR4.90 euros.
And in France, the Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) reported that the number of businesses created for all enterprises was relatively unchanged in April, rising 0.1% after gaining 0.4% in March. Conventional businesses start-ups fell back 0.9%, while micro-entrepreneurs' registrations increased 1.4%. The raw number of business start-ups during the last 12 months accelerated, rising 12.5% after climbing 9.8% in March, and 9.3% in February. All the types of business start-ups increased: micro-entrepreneurs' registrations surged 19.4%, conventional sole proprietorship start-ups gained 14.3%, and company births rose 3.2%.
In equities, mining stocks helped lift the FTSE in London as Anglo American, Glencore International, and Rio Tinto climbed 5%, 3.6%, and 2.9% respectively. Bookmaking company Paddy Power Betfair and software firm Micro Focus International led all gainers, rising 6.3% and 6.2% respectively, while luxury goods company Burberry Group, and paper company Mondi were up 3.6% and 3.3%.
In Frankfurt, footwear and apparel retailer Adidas helped lead the DAX into positive territory, gaining 2.7%, followed by chemicals company Linde, which was up 1.6%. Pharmaceutical firms Bayer and Merck increased 1.5% and 1.4% respectively, while chemical company BASF closed 1.1% higher. Postal services provider Deutsche Post increased 0.9%, while software firm SAP, and technology company Siemens were up 0.7% each.
In Paris, oilfield services firm TechnipFMC led the CAC higher, rising 4.1%, followed by luxury goods company Louis Vuitton, which climbed 2.9%. Luxury goods company Kering, and industrial gases firm Air Liquide were up 2.4%, and 1.9%, while mining company ArcelorMittal, and chemical company Solvay each closed 1% higher.
The FTSE increased 0.15%, the DAX gained 0.20%, and the CAC-40 rose 0.26%.