European Shares Slide Ahead Of ECB Meeting

European stocks edged lower on Wednesday, as investors looked to upcoming U.S. inflation data and a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting for directional cues.

Amid ample chatter about rising inflation, the release of key U.S. consumer inflation data on Thursday may provide some cues on policy tapering.

The European Central Bank is likely to maintain a higher pace of asset purchases for another quarter when it reviews monetary policy on Thursday.

The pan European Stoxx 600 dropped 0.2 percent to 453.01, after having hit a record high of 455.66 in the previous session.

The German DAX fell 0.4 percent after data showed the country’s exports rose less than expected in April.

France’s CAC 40 index slipped 0.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down half a percent.

A sharp rise in Chinese factory prices weighed on the mining sector, with Anglo American, BHP, Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Glencore falling between 1.4 percent and 2.5 percent.

Spanish retail giant Inditex lost 1.8 percent despite reporting a turnaround to profit for the first quarter.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. declined 1.7 percent. The financial services group has reached an agreement with unions to lay off 2,935 employees in Spain.

French Food group Danone gave up 1.6 percent after RBC downgraded the stock to “underperform”.

Volkswagen AG edged down slightly as the German automaker announced a contribution of $620 million or about 500 million euros in a financing round of its Swedish battery partner Northvolt AB with a total volume of $2.75 billion.

Airline shares rallied after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eased travel recommendations for more than 110 countries and territories.

Lufthansa rose over 3 percent, Air France KLM climbed 3.2 percent, EasyJet rallied 2.4 percent, Ryanair Holdings added 2.2 percent and British Airways-owner IAG jumped 3 percent.

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