Stocks have begun the morning trading slightly higher, as investors play it safe ahead of the latest consumer price data in the States due out later in the day.

As of 0938 GMT, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was edging higher by 0.13% or 0.49 points to 379.69, alongside a rise of 0.23% or 28.08 points for Germany's Dax, while Spain's Ibex 35 was higher by 0.76% or 73.80 points to 9,801.30.

Meanwhile, shares of both RWE and EON were adding to Monday's gains, on the back of further news-flow around the two energy groups, with the Stoxx Utilities gauge up by 0.53% at 280.16.

Although some analysts did not expect the US CPI report for February to shed much additional light on the likely path for interest rates that the Federal Reserve was likely to choose, traders were wary given recent market volatility whenever readings on inflation have surprised to the upside, and vice-versa.

“Today's CPI inflation data is likely to add further colour to the US inflation picture, however it probably won't add any further clarity to the overall inflation outlook puzzle, given that the Fed doesn't use CPI as its inflation benchmark.

“Nonetheless, it is still a useful gauge in establishing when and how the price pressures we've been seeing build up in US supply chains start to filter down into the wider economy,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

News was light on the economic front on the Continent, with releases centred on Southern Europe.

Thus, according to Spain's INE, harmonised consumer prices in the Iberian country advanced by 0.1% month-on-month and 1.2% year-on-year in February, confirming a previous estimate.

In France, INSEE reported a 0.3% or 72,700 person rise in non-farm payrolls for the three months to December.

On the company side of things, ahead of its industry-changing asset swap with local rival EON, RWE posted full-year 2017 after tax profits of €1.9bn, with the company's bottom line boosted by a government refund on past taxes on nuclear fuel.

In parallel, overnight EON projected as many as 5,000 job cuts as part of the same asset swap, alongside between €600m to €800m of synergies y 2022.


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