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European Stocks Close Lower as Investors Track Earnings, Monetary Policy; Uniper Up 14%

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  • The negative trade for European markets comes after a similarly volatile session on Tuesday as a relief rally seen in the previous two sessions lost some momentum.
  • U.K. inflation hit yet another new 40-year high in June as food and energy prices continued to soar, escalating the country's historic cost-of-living crisis.

LONDON — European stocks closed lower on Wednesday, as investors continued to digest corporate earnings, economic data and the potential path of monetary policy.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down by 0.2% provisionally, after reversing initial gains earlier in the session. The banking and automotive sectors each fell more than 0.9% to lead losses. Tech shares climbed 1.7% after Netflix said it expects to return to subscriber growth in the third quarter.

The slightly negative trade for European markets comes after a similarly volatile session on Tuesday as the relief rally seen in the previous two sessions lost some momentum.

It was a different picture stateside, with the major averages trading mostly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.6% on the back of Netflix's positive forecast.

Besides the positive lead from Wall Street, there were also reports that Russia and Ukraine are nearing a deal that would end the blockade on grain exports, and that Nord Stream 1 is likely to restart gas exports on schedule after maintenance is completed.

Back in Europe, the European Central Bank's policy meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday is at the forefront of investors' minds, with policymakers having given advance notice of a first hike in 11 years. Still, this comes against a backdrop of slowing growth, the war in Ukraine and threats to energy supplies.

U.K. inflation hit yet another new 40-year high in June as food and energy prices continued to soar, escalating the country's historic cost-of-living crisis.

The consumer price index rose 9.4% annually, according to estimates out Wednesday, slightly above a consensus forecast among economists polled by Reuters and up from 9.1% in May.

Uniper was the biggest climber on Wednesday. The German energy giant's shares jumped nearly 13% amid bailout talks with the government.

Toward the bottom of the Stoxx 600, Volvo Car fell more than 5% after the Swedish automaker lowered its retail sales forecast and missed second-quarter earnings expectations.

— CNBC's Ryan Browne and Abigail Ng contributed to this story.

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