European Stock Futures Mixed; Apple Lifts Some of Fed-Induced Gloom
By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open in a mixed fashion Friday, helped by strong earnings from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) but with investors remaining cautious over the recent hawkish turn by the Federal Reserve as well as Russia’s intentions for Ukraine.
At 2 AM ET (0700 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.5% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.1%, while the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.
Global stock markets received a boost late Thursday after Apple, the largest company in the world by market capitalization, posted record sales over the important holiday quarter, the iPhone-maker successfully navigating the supply-chain challenges which have hurt many of its peers.
That said, investors are still digesting the latest comments from the Federal Reserve after the U.S. central bank indicated on Wednesday it was likely to raise rates in March and reaffirmed plans to end its pandemic-era bond purchases that month.
Money markets are now pricing in as many as five Fed hikes in 2022 in line with the U.S. central bank’s hawkish tone, up from the three expected as recently as December.
Back in Europe, concerns remain over Russia’s plans for Ukraine after Moscow said on Thursday it was clear the United States was not willing to address its main concerns, which revolve around the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO.
Russia has massed troops near Ukraine, prompting Western fears of an invasion. Such an incursion could have severe repercussions for Europe’s energy supplies if Russia limits its natural gas output to the region in response to the expected Western sanctions.
The economic data slate offered up some good news, as France saw its strongest growth in over five decades last year. The French economy grew by 0.7% in the final three months of the year, and by 7% in 2021 as a whole, the strongest since 1969, after an 8% contraction in 2020.
In corporate news, UniCredit (MI: CRDI ) will be in the spotlight after the Italian bank reported better-than-expected full-year revenues and underlying profit, despite a fourth-quarter loss that was due to one-off hits from CEO Andrea Orcel's new strategy.
Nordic telecom operator Telia (ST: TELIA ) reported quarterly core earnings ahead of market expectations on Friday, helped by growth in service revenue in several markets, while Swiss fragrance and flavour maker Givaudan (SIX: GIVN ) posed a weaker-than-expected rise in net profit and dividend for 2021.
Oil prices pushed higher Friday, on course for their sixth consecutive weekly gain, with the market remaining concerned over supply levels ahead of the latest meeting of top producers.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, is expected to stick with its plan to increase output in a cautious manner in March when it meets next week.
By 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% higher at $87.14 a barrel, having climbed to a seven-year high of $88.54 on Thursday, while the Brent contract rose 0.5% to $88.63, just off the previous session’s peak, which was the highest since October 2014.
Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,795.33/oz, while EUR/USD traded largely flat at 1.1144.
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