European stocks post a strong start to the month

European stock markets closed higher on Wednesday as hopes of more stimulus overshadowed fresh signs of weakness in Asian economies while investors shrugged off concerns about rising inflation.
After seven consecutive months of gains, the European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.5% to close at 473.12 points, continuing to approach its record high of 476.16 points.
Shares of retail and travel and leisure companies were the top gainers, with each gaining 1.8 percent.
Sectors related to consumer spending benefited from data showing that unemployment in the Eurozone fell, as expected, in July.
European banks continued to benefit from higher government bond yields, with their index closing up 0.9 percent.

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