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European Markets Close Up as Traders Assess Data, OPEC Meeting; UK Markets Closed

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  • European traders are still digesting euro zone inflation numbers which hit an annual 8.1% in May, exceeding expectations and marking a seventh consecutive record high.
  • Investors are closely watching the European Central Bank for hints at the pace and scale of interest rate hikes required to rein in consumer prices.

LONDON — European markets closed just slightly up Thursday as traders continued to assess new data on inflation and economic activity.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.6% by the close, with construction and material stocks finishing 2.1% higher to lead the gains, while at the other end oil and gas stocks lost 0.2% .

The German DAX rose 1%, the French CAC was up 1.3% and the Italian FTSE MIB climbed 0.6%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 was closed on Thursday and Friday for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

European traders are still digesting euro zone inflation numbers which hit an annual 8.1% in May, exceeding expectations and marking a seventh consecutive record high. Investors are closely watching the European Central Bank for hints at the pace and scale of interest rate hikes required to rein in consumer prices.

Russia's onslaught in Ukraine is also front and center, as well as the recent EU announcement of a partial ban for Russian oil imports. OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, which include Russia, will meet Thursday for a regular policy meeting.

Shares in Asia-Pacific declined in Thursday trade, with Australia's April trade surplus coming in higher than expected. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index led losses regionally as it declined 1.67%, with shares of Alibaba dropping more than 3%.

On Wall Street, U.S. stock futures rose Thursday as markets looked to bounce back from two days of losses.

In individual stocks news, Atos shares finished 8% up. The French IT giant announced a partnership with UK chip designer Arm and University College London on Wednesday.

—CNBC's Eustance Huang contributed to this article.

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