European Stock Futures Higher; U.K. Inflation Soars

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European Stock Futures Higher; U.K. Inflation Soars
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse 

Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open higher Wednesday, following the global trend higher as investors look to rebound after recent losses caused by the Ukraine war and the associated inflation concerns. 

At 3:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.4% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.4%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.6%.

The major indices closed higher on Wall Street late Tuesday, led by a 2% gain in the NASDAQ Composite , and Asian shares followed suit overnight, with Japan's Nikkei jumping 2.5% to touch a two-month high. 

European indices are set to continue the recovery as cash returns to the beaten-up equity markets, largely from the bond markets as investors braced for central banks, and the U.S. Federal Reserve, in particular, to take aggressive approaches to taming inflation.

That said, these gains remain tentative as the war in Ukraine rages on, with Russian air strikes continuing to pound the besieged port city of Mariupol in the south of the country.

Talks between Ukraine and Russia are confrontational but moving forward, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday, ahead of the arrival of U.S. President Joe Biden for talks with NATO and European leaders in Brussels, starting later in the day.

Biden is expected to bring with him plans for more sanctions on Moscow in retaliation for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and moves to tighten existing measures.

Elsewhere, U.K. consumer prices rose 0.8% on the month in February, soaring 6.2% on the year, the fastest rate in 30 years. This will put further pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help his citizens suffering a cost of living crisis in his Spring Statement to Parliament.

Oil prices edged higher Wednesday after industry data pointed to another drop in U.S. crude inventories, increasing concerns about the tight nature of the global market.

Tuesday’s numbers from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude stocks in the U.S., the world's biggest oil consumer, fell by 4.3 million barrels last week, confounding expectations for a small increase. 

The official government data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due later in the session. 

By 3:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% higher at $109.92 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.8% to $116.43.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,918.20/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1032.

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