By Julien Ponthus
LONDON (Reuters) - European shares rose in early deals on Wednesday, lifted by strong results and German economic data as traders positioned for potentially market-driving U.S. inflation numbers.
Data suggesting GDP in Europe's biggest economy was set to power ahead in 2018 came as Bridgewater Associates was reported to have taken short bets against titans of corporate Germany including Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn), Allianz (DE:ALVG), and BASF (DE:BASFn).
The pan-European STOXX 600 (STOXX) index was up 0.8 percent by 0915 GMT with most bourses and sectors in positive territory as a strong set of corporate results lifted shares.
The U.S. inflation data due later in the day could soothe, or inflame, the fears of faster U.S. rate hikes that triggered a sharp correction in equity markets earlier this month.
"Even a slightly higher number could set the cat among the pigeons given the late-cycle stimulus the Trump Administration is pumping into the U.S. economy," Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader, said.
Meanwhile, shares in French electrical parts distributor Rexel led the market higher, rising 8.2 percent and on track for their best day in two years after a well-received trading update.
Second was silicon wafer group Siltronic (DE:WAFGn), up 6.6 after a positive note from Credit Suisse .
Shares in food packaging group Huhtamaki (HE:HUH1V) rose 6.4 percent after it released fourth quarter results, and Dutch food supplement maker (AS:DSMN) DSM jumped 4 percent after giving an upbeat outlook for 2018.
In the banking sector, Credit Suisse (S:CSGN) was a clear leader, up 3.1 percent, after it posted a third straight annual loss which was smaller than expected.
Other French stocks were among the top performers with retirement home operator Orpea (PA:ORP) up 5.2 percent and heading for its best day in more than 18 months after reporting a solid outlook.
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