European markets close lower as momentum fades; UK inflation soars

European markets pulled back on Wednesday after a rally on Wall Street, having struggled to build positive momentum so far this week.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed 1% lower, having given up earlier gains. Retail stocks led the losses, down over 2.6%, while food and beverages stocks bucked the trend to close up around 0.5%.

On Wednesday, investors were tracking preliminary gross domestic product data from the euro zone for the second quarter, as well as unemployment figures for the single currency bloc, and the latest U.K. inflation figures for July.

New OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais rejected suggestions that the influential energy alliance should shoulder the blame for soaring prices, instead pointing the finger at chronic underinvestment in the oil and gas industry.

“OPEC is not behind this price increase,” Al Ghais told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

“There are other factors beyond OPEC that are really behind the spike we have seen in gas [and] in oil. And again, I think in a nutshell, for me, it is underinvestment — chronic underinvestment,” he added.

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