European stocks inched higher on Wednesday after a wobbly start to the week, as investors balanced risks from a spike in global COVID-19 cases with signs of a steady economic recovery in the continent.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1% by 0712 GMT, with travel and leisure stocks recovering from sharp falls earlier this week, driven by worries about the fast-spreading Delta variant.
UK’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1%, supported by a weaker pound after data showed British inflation fell to the Bank of England’s 2% target last month in an unexpectedly sharp slowdown.
The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 were flat.
In individual stocks, Danish brewer Carlsberg (OTC:CABGY) rose 2.8% after it raised its full-year earnings guidance and said beer volumes in key markets China and Russia had risen to “well above” pre-pandemic levels.
Swiss medical device maker Alcon (NYSE:ALC) jumped 8.4% to the top of STOXX 600 after it lifted its full-year earnings forecast.