European stocks edge higher; economic weakness overshadowed by U.S. gains

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European stocks edge higher; economic weakness overshadowed by U.S. gains - European stock markets edged higher Thursday, as a positive handover from the U.S. helped to dilute further signs of eurozone economic weakness.

At 04:05 ET (08:05 GMT), the DAX  index in Germany traded 0.2% higher, the CAC 40  in France climbed 0.2% and FTSE 100  in the U.K. rose 0.1%.

Disappointing European economic outlook 

German exports fell more than expected on the month in August, dropping 1.2% from the previous month, as weak global demand hurt the country's exports.

August was the second month in a row to see a decline in exports, following a downward-revised 1.9% dip in July.

At the same time, both French and Spanish industrial production fell on the month in August.

This added to eurozone retail sales falling 1.2% in August, much more than expected, pointing to weaker consumer demand as inflation remains high.

The final composite Purchasing Managers' Index indicated that the eurozone economy probably shrank last quarter, making a recession in the second half of the year more likely, as output declined in both services and manufacturing.

Positive handover from Wall Street

Still, the European markets have edged higher as this economic weakness has been overshadowed by the positive tone on Wall Street, after the main U.S. equity indexes all posted strong gains on Wednesday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite leading the way, as the latest private payrolls data rose less than expected in September.

This resulted in U.S. Treasury yields easing back from 16-year highs, amid lessening concerns over rising interest rates and the likelihood that the Federal Reserve may need to keep rates higher for longer, helping Asian markets post gains, a positive tone that is likely to continue in Europe.

Imperial Brands (OTC: IMBBY ) gains on buyback announcement

In corporate news, Imperial Brands (LON: IMB ) stock rose 1.6% after the tobacco giant reaffirmed its full-year forecast, on the back of sustained demand, higher prices and strong adoption of tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes.

The company also announced a share buyback of £1.1 billion (£1 = $1.2136).

Crude attempts rebound from Wednesday’s selloff

Oil prices edged higher Thursday, rebounding after the previous session’s hefty losses, but will likely struggle to push much higher given the uncertain demand outlook following a significant build in U.S. gasoline inventories.

Crude settled more than $5 a barrel lower on Wednesday, the sharpest one-day loss in more than a year, following the release of data showing the largest weekly build in almost two years for stockpiles of U.S. gasoline, suggesting a significant dropoff in demand as the summer driving season ends.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, had reaffirmed on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and Russia would continue to cut output by at least 1.3 million barrels a day until the end of the year. 

By 04:05 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $84.25 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.1% to $85.90. 

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,836.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0513.


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