European stocks hovered near record highs on Wednesday as investors awaited data on service sector activity for the region, with gains for energy companies such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which released a trade update.
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP Index, -0.35% was slightly lower at 435, following a 0.7% gain on Tuesday, which brought it to a record close of 435.26.
The German DAX DAX, -0.31% was flat at 15,210.93, immediately after its own record of 15212.68, a gain of 0.7%. The French CAC PX1, -0.19% gained 0.2% and the FTSE 100 UKX index, 0.74% stood out with a gain of 0.7%.
The UK's export-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.3% as a weaker pound lifted dollar winners, while the country-centric mid-cap index slowly edged toward a high. historic when Britain began the deployment of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.
US stock futures ES00, -0.14% YM00, -0.14% NQ00, -0.25% were flat as investors awaited the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.10% closed 0.1% lower after setting a record intraday high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.29% closed 0.3% lower and the Nasdaq Composite COMP, - 0.05% finished modestly weaker.
The survey indicates that economies “weathered recent lockdowns much better than many had waited, thanks to the resurgence of manufacturing growth and signs that distance and mobility restrictions are having a much smaller impact on service sector businesses than was seen around this time last year,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in a press release.
Royal Dutch Shell RDSA shares, 0.22% RDS.A, + 0.13% were up 0.5%. The energy giant warned that a fierce winter storm that hit Texas in February would hit its adjusted first-quarter earnings by $ 200 million in a business update.
Shell said adjusted earnings for its upstream unit, which deals with oil exploration and production, are expected to be positive in the first quarter, "capturing the advantage of the current commodity price environment." But analysts at RBC Capital Markets said the outlook for the first quarter was disappointing.