European markets close slightly lower; FTSE ticks up after UK inflation hits BOE target

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  • European stocks closed lower on Wednesday, losing the positive momentum seen in the previous trading session.
  • U.K. inflation data for May was in line with expectations at 2.0%, hitting the Bank of England's target ahead of its policy rate decision on Thursday.

LONDON — European stocks closed lower Wednesday, losing the positive momentum seen during the previous trading session.

The Stoxx 600 index ended the session down 0.18%, with major bourses and sectors diverging. Tech stocks led losses, down 1.15%, while mining stocks added 0.65%.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ticked up in afternoon trade, rising 0.2% and recovering from earlier losses after the country's inflation print came in in line with expectations.

Inflation rose by an annual 2.0% in May, hitting the Bank of England's target ahead of its policy rate decision on Thursday. The Bank is widely expected to hold rates steady at 5.25%, with the majority of economists polled by Reuters forecasting a cut in August.

Sterling rose slightly after the release, and was trading at $1.2722 at 4:35 p.m. London time.

In stock moves, Games Workshop added 9% after the British firm forecast higher pre-tax profit of £200 million ($254.4 million) in a full-year trading update.

Data from the euro zone on Tuesday showed inflation in the single-currency euro area rose at an annual rate of 2.6% in May, up from 2.4% in April, the EU's statistical office Eurostat confirmed in a final reading. Annual inflation within the wider EU was 2.7%, up from 2.6% the previous month.

Asia-Pacific markets mostly rose overnight after key U.S. benchmark indexes hit fresh highs on Tuesday as artificial intelligence chip firm Nvidia overtook Microsoft to become the world's most valuable public company.

U.S. financial markets are closed for the Juneteenth holiday.

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