European stocks inch up as Bayer, AB Foods support

European shares steadied near record highs on Tuesday, as strong corporate earnings supported sentiment, while investors awaited fresh U.S. inflation data for clues on the interest rate outlook.

The pan-European STOXX 600 inched up 0.1%, as of 0832 GMT, holding just below a record peak hit last week.

German agriculture and pharmaceutical firm Bayer climbed 2.6% after reporting a rise in quarterly adjusted earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts.

Upbeat earnings outlook from Primark-owner AB Foods supported British stocks.

Insurers were among the biggest decliners, with German group Munich Re falling 3.1% after saying it expected more COVID-related losses in its reinsurance business than previously expected.

Wall Street indexes cheered the passage of the U.S. infrastructure bill on Monday, though worries that a high consumer prices reading on Wednesday could revive talks of interest rate hikes kept overall gains in check. (Reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu).