Europe Markets: European stocks rise, lifted by retailers including Inditex, as investors await Fed decision

A person wearing a facemask walks past an open Zara store on Broadway in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan on June 24, 2020 in New York City.


angela weiss/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

European stocks inched up on Wednesday, with retail stocks rising after Inditex SA results, as investors waited for the outcome of the Federal Reserve meeting later. U.S. stock futures also rose.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index
SXXP,
+0.13%

was up 0.3% to 372.22, on the heels of a 0.7% gain on Tuesday. The German DAX
DAX,
+0.05%

and the French CAC 40
PX1,
+0.00%

rose 0.2% each, while the FTSE 100
UKX,
-0.31%

was flat. The euro
EURUSD,
+0.11%

and British pound
GBPUSD,
+0.03%

each traded flat against the dollar.

U.S. stock futures
ES00,
+0.16%

NQ00,
+0.25%

YM00,
+0.15%

were up around 0.3% across the board.

Investors are waiting for the outcome of the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting before the U.S. presidential election. That will come after the close of European markets.

Economists expect the Fed to signal interest rates will remain unchanged and close to zero through the end of 2023. The Fed will release 2023 economic forecasts for the first time.

Also grabbing attention, Snowflake
SNOW,
+2.05%
,
the biggest-ever software initial public offering will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange later on Wednesday. Backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, the cloud-data specialist is expected to raise nearly $4 billion.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy will meet Thursday. Data released Wednesday showed annual inflation slowing sharply in August, with consumer prices up 0.2% versus a 1% rise in July. Data released Tuesday showed 700,000 jobs have been lost in the U.K. since pandemic-induced lockdowns in March.

Read: U.K. employment picture worsens in August as payrolls fall, unemployment rate increases

The retail sector was leading gains, led by a 5% rise in shares of Inditex
ITX,
+5.86%

after the Spanish owner of Zara and Bershka returned to a profit in the second quarter from a loss in the previous quarter from COVID-19 -related store closures.

Online sales rose 74% in the first half of the year, though the retailer swung to a net loss in that period. But the company said 98% of stores were now open.

Shares of rival H&M AB
HM.B,
+4.20%
,
which beat expectations on earnings on Tuesday, climbed over 4% and those of sportswear maker PUMA SE
PUM,
+2.57%

rose 2.5%.

On the downside, shares of Grenke SE
GLJ,
-17.20%

tumbled 13% . Short-selling firm Viceroy Research alleged accounting fraud at the leasing company triggering a slide in shares on Tuesday. The firm did not return a request for comment.