European Stock Futures Mixed; ECB Meeting Looms Large

  • Stock Market News
European Stock Futures Mixed; ECB Meeting Looms Large
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are expected to open in a mixed fashion Thursday, helped by a positive close on Wall Street overnight but with investors cautiously awaiting a key policy-setting meeting from the European Central Bank.

At 2:05 AM ET (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.3% higher, the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%, while CAC 40 futures in France dropped 1.2%.

European markets are set to receive a positive handover from Wall Street Thursday, as falling U.S. Treasury yields helped interest-sensitive growth stocks close substantially higher. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index jumped over 2% while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 1%.

However, most focus Thursday will be on the European Central Bank meeting later in the session, with the policymakers having to cope with record-high inflation as well as concerns about a war-related recession.

As it stands the ECB plans to end its emergency bond buying at some point in the third quarter, with interest rates going up "some time" after that. However, many of the central bank's peers have already started tightening policy, and investors will be looking to see if the central bank provides a clearer schedule for unwinding its extraordinary stimulus.

Any gains Thursday are likely to be limited as geopolitical risks cap market optimism. Ukraine warned on Wednesday of an expected ramped up Russian assault in the east of the country, while U.S. President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in military assistance.

In corporate news, Publicis (PA: PUBP ) is likely to be in the spotlight after the world's third-biggest advertising group beat market expectations in the first quarter but stuck to its full-year outlook on Thursday, citing economic uncertainties.

Oil prices edged lower Thursday, handing back some of the week’s substantial gains after the release of a larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude inventories.

Data released Wednesday from the Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. oil stocks rose more than 9 million barrels last week, substantially more than expected, even if U.S. gasoline stocks fell 3.6 million barrels.

Still, both benchmarks are well over 7% higher over the course of the week as worries over tightening global supply continue to weigh on sentiment.

The International Energy Agency on Wednesday warned that from May onwards roughly 3 million barrels per day of Russian oil could be shut-in due to sanctions or voluntary embargoes.

By 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.1% lower at $103.05 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.7% to $107.99. 

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,974.00/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% higher at 1.0917.


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