European stocks were pinned near three-month highs on Wednesday as data showed a downturn in euro zone business activity eased slightly in November, while rallying commodity shares offset losses in Credit Suisse following its profit warning, reports Reuters.
The Europe-wide STOXX 600 index inched up 0.1 per cent to its strongest level since Aug. 19. Oil and gas and mining stocks extended gains for a second session, and were up 1.3 per cent each.
Credit Suisse fell 5.1 per cent to the bottom of STOXX 600 after the embattled Swiss lender said it expects to make a pre tax loss of up to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.58 billion) for the fourth quarter.
S&P Global's flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the euro zone, seen as a good gauge of overall economic health, nudged up to 47.8 in November from the previous month. Economists were expecting a fall to 47.0 in a Reuters poll.
The survey, however, also showed overall demand continued to decline as consumers cut spending amid a cost of living crisis.
"The PMIs confirm that the European economy is probably already in a technical recession in the fourth quarter but they also show we're stabilising around the low levels and not falling off a cliff," said Christian Stocker, lead equity strategist at Unicredit.
"It is a light recession but nothing dramatic for the earnings."
The benchmark STOXX 600 has rallied about 14 per cent from its September closing lows, aided by a better-than-expected earnings season and expectations that Federal Reserve will slow its pace of rate hikes amid signs of a cooling US economy.
The Fed's November meeting minutes, due at 1900 GMT, will offer fresh clues on the path of interest rates. Traders have currently priced in a 77 per cent chance that the US central bank will hike rates by 50 basis points in December.
The European Central Bank will release its own meeting minutes on Thursday. ECB Vice-President Luis de Guindos said the central bank will keep raising interest rates until it brings inflation down to around its 2 per cent mid-term goal.
Kering slipped 0.8 per cent in choppy trading after a report said Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele is leaving the Italian fashion house, owned by the French luxury group.
EMS Chemie dropped 3.8 per cent after the Swiss nylon maker cut full-year earnings forecast amid worsening economic outlook.
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