European stock futures edge higher ahead of U.S. CPI, retail earnings

  • Stock Market News
European stock futures edge higher ahead of U.S. CPI, retail earnings
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are expected to open marginally higher Thursday, ahead of the release of key U.S. consumer price data as well as more quarterly earnings.

At 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.2% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.3%, while the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.

European equities have started the new year on a positive note, with Britain’s blue-chip stock index, the FTSE 100 , leading the way, trading near an all-time high.

Helping the recent tone have been relatively strong performances by the likes of Next (LON: NXT ) and JD Sports Fashion (LON: JD ), as retailers appear to be turning the corner after a tricky 2022.

More quarterly earnings, largely from the retail sector, are scheduled Thursday from Tesco (LON: TSCO ), Marks and Spencer (LON: MKS ), ASOS (LON: ASOS ) and Persimmon (LON: PSN ), and investors will be looking to see if these positive numbers can continue given the difficult backdrop caused by a cost-of-living crisis, high inflation and a wave of industrial action.

There is little in the way of significant economic data scheduled in Europe Thursday, and all eyes will be on the December U.S. consumer price index later in the session.

Investors have been expecting the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of its interest rate hikes when it next meets in early February, but policymakers have been very keen to make clear that such a decision is data dependent. With this in mind, this consumer price index will be a key gauge of their progress in reining in inflation. 

The headline figure is expected to rise 6.5% from a year ago, down from the 7.1% pace the prior month. For the month, inflation is expected to remain flat. Core CPI , which excludes food and fuel prices, is expected to read 5.7%, compared with 6% the month before, and 0.3% on the month, compared with 0.2% in November.

Data released earlier Thursday showed that Chinese CPI inflation increased slightly more than expected in December, but price pressures still remained subdued as the country struggled with a severe COVID outbreak. 

Oil prices traded largely unchanged Thursday, shrugging off a large U.S. crude stockpile build, as optimism over China's demand outlook rises.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 18 million barrels last week, the biggest jump since February 2021, according to data from the Energy Information Administration .

However, this has had little impact as it followed the severe cold snap that impacted much of the U.S. Gulf Coast’s refining capacity. 

Additionally, a lot of the market’s attention is focused on the expected Chinese economic recovery, and thus increased oil demand, after the country reopened its international borders and ended its restrictive zero-COVID policy.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded flat at $77.41 a barrel, while the Brent contract was flat at $82.68. Both contracts have rallied over 5% so far this week.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,886.25/oz, while EUR/USD traded just higher at 1.0757.

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