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European markets choppy as investors await more U.S. inflation data

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LONDON — European stocks were choppy on Monday morning as global markets await key U.S. inflation data this week and more comment from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on interest rate hikes.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 slid 0.3% below the flatline in early deals, having started the session up by 0.3%. Industrials slid 0.9% to lead losses while travel and leisure stocks gained 0.5%.

In terms of individual share price movement, Swedish medical technology company Addlife fell 5.5% in early trade, while at the top of the Stoxx 600, Denmark’s Royal Unibrew added 4.1%.

Global markets have a busy week ahead with the latest U.S. inflation data a key data point this week. The U.S. consumer price index is set for release Wednesday and the producer price index is slated for Thursday.

Consumer prices have jumped in Europe and the U.S. over recent months. Last Friday, inflation in the euro zone hit a new record high in December coming in at 5% compared with the same month last year.

In addition, investors will be looking out for more comments on the timing of forthcoming interest rate rises from Powell, as the Fed chair is scheduled to testify Tuesday at his nomination hearing before a Senate panel.

The Fed has signaled it could dial back its easy monetary policy more aggressively than some expected. Minutes from the Fed’s December meeting released last Wednesday showed the central bank is planning to shrink its balance sheet in addition to hiking rates.

Markets will be keeping an eye on security talks betweenU.S. and Russian diplomats in Geneva on Monday that are aimed at de-escalating tensions over Ukraine.

On the data front in Europe on Monday, the euro zone releases its latest unemployment figures for November.

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