Europe close: Stocks in holding pattern ahead of Jackson Hole
Wednesday's session saw stocks drift slightly higher across the Continent, as investors digested weak German business sentiment data and eyed a key gathering of US Federal Reserve officials on Thursday and Friday.
Nonetheless, as Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG reminded clients: "But it is too easy in these quiet August days to ascribe a narrative to movements that are broadly about window-dressing and position-trimming, rather than any attempt to guess the tone and direction of Powell’s speech this week."
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.01% higher to 471.84, alongside a 0.28% dip for the German Dax to 15,860.66.
France's Cac-40 on the other hand edged up 0.18% to 6,676.48, alongside similar-sized gains for the Spanish Ibex 35.
Germany's DAX was lower after a survey by the Ifo Institute showed business sentiment deteriorated again in August amid supply chain issues.
The business climate index fell to 99.4 from 100.7 in July, missing expectations for a reading of 100.4.
Investor sentiment in Germany was also dampened by foreign trade figures showing the first decline in exports to China for a year, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK pointed out.
That said, investors' focus remains on the Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium, with investors looking for any sign of plans to taper the central bank’s bond-buying program. Fed chair Jerome Powell will deliver a speech on Friday.
In equity news, shares in builders merchant supplier Grafton were up 3.82% as the company reported record interim profits and reinstated its dividend on the back of a recovery in construction.
Stadler Rail climbed 5.0% after increasing first-half net profit and confirming its full-year outlook.
Swedish radiation therapy equipment manufacturer Elekta slid 8% after missing first-quarter operating profit expectations.