European stock futures edge lower ahead of Fed decision; earnings continue

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European stock futures edge lower ahead of Fed decision; earnings continue
Credit: © Reuters. - European stock markets are expected to open slightly lower Wednesday, as investors brace themselves for another rate hike from the Federal Reserve while the quarterly earnings season continues in full flow.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.2% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.1%.

Fed set to lift interest rates, again

It’s decision day at the Federal Reserve, and investors around the globe are widely expecting the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point later in the session.

This would be the 11th hike in its past 12 policy meetings as the central bank moved aggressively in its battle to tame soaring inflation.

However, with prices now on the retreat, investors are hopeful that this will be the Fed’s last rate increase, and thus the focus will be on the subsequent news conference for Chair Jerome Powell’s comments on likely future decisions.

This communication could set the tone for European markets ahead of a policy decision from the European Central Bank on Thursday. 

Earnings continue to pour in 

The deluge of quarterly corporate results continues Wednesday, with numbers due from French supermarket chain Carrefour (EPA: CARR ), global foods and beverage company Danone (EPA: DANO ), auto giant Stellantis (EPA: STLAM ) as well as pharma GSK (LON: GSK ).

Deutsche Bank (ETR: DBKGn ) posted a 27% fall in second-quarter profit as investment banking revenues slumped, but this was partly mitigated by gains at its retail division.

NatWest Group (LON: NWG ) is also likely to be in the spotlight after CEO Alison Rose resigned earlier Wednesday after she admitted to a "serious error of judgment" in discussing former Brexit party leader Nigel Farage's relationship with the bank with a BBC journalist. 

Across the Atlantic, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META ) stands out as the highlight of another busy session, while investors will also digest largely solid results from fellow tech giants Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) overnight.

Oil prices dip after U.S. inventories rise

Oil prices retreated from three-month highs after industry data showed a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles, suggesting that supplies were not as tight as previously thought in the important American market.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute , released Tuesday, suggested U.S. crude stocks rose by 1.3 million barrels in the past week. Official numbers from the Energy Information Administration will be studied later in the session for confirmation.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $79.14 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.6% to $82.75. 

Both benchmarks hit their highest levels since April on Tuesday amid concerns over tighter supplies and pledges by Chinese authorities to shore up the world's second-biggest economy and largest crude importer.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,965.50/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1062.

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