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LONDON — European stocks closed higher Wednesday, as sentiment remains on edge ahead of two major elections.

After a negative performance last week, the pan-European Stoxx 600 has been choppy so far in July. The index provisionally closed 0.8% higher, with most sectors in the green led by mining stocks, up 2.3%.

Maersk shares ticked 3.8% higher after the shipping giant withdrew from sales talks with logistics firm DB Schenker. Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc said an investigation had concluded the German company had a “comprehensive portfolio in the logistic market and with further potential to unlock for the future,” but identified integration challenges.

Investors are bracing themselves for two national parliamentary elections, with the U.K. heading to the polls on Thursday followed by France on Sunday. Surveys suggest a victory for the U.K.’s opposition center-left Labour Party, an outcome analysts say would be looked on favorably by markets; while the French vote is mired in greater uncertainty.

Regional markets closed lower Tuesday, after digesting the latest consumer price data from the euro zone which showed headline inflation in the euro area dipped to 2.5% in June, in line with the expectations of economists polled by Reuters.

However, the closely watched figures for core and services inflation remained stubbornly high, holding at 2.9% and 4.1%, respectively.

Asia-Pacific markets mostly rose overnight, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell noted there was progress on reining in inflation, while investors also assessed a slew of data from the region.

U.S. stocks were mixed on Wednesday’s shortened trading day. It comes as figures showed softening in the U.S. labor market. ADP data showed less private payroll growth than expected in June, while weekly jobless claims numbers came in higher than forecast.

Minutes from the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee’s June meeting will be released in the afternoon. 

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There are no major earnings or data releases in Europe Wednesday.

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