European Stocks Edge Higher; GSK Shines Ahead of Fed Rate Decision

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European Stocks Edge Higher; GSK Shines Ahead of Fed Rate Decision
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse 

Investing.com - European stock markets edged higher Wednesday, continuing the recent positive trend as investors digest more corporate earnings ahead of the conclusion of the crucial Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting.

At 04:55 ET (08:55 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.2% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.5% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.

The quarterly earnings season continued in Europe Wednesday, with GSK (LON: GSK ) stock climbing 1% after the British drugmaker raised its 2022 forecast for the second time in four months, boosted by better-than-expected third-quarter earnings , driven by higher sales of its blockbuster shingles vaccine Shingrix.

Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO ) stock rose 4.4% after the Danish drugmaker raised its full-year earnings outlook on strong sales of diabetes treatment Ozempic, while Straumann (SIX: STMN ) stock rose 4% after the Swiss dental implants maker raised its 2022 organic sales growth outlook.

Next (LON: NXT ) stock rose 3.7% after the U.K. fashion retailer reported a better-than-expected uptick in revenue in the third quarter thanks to a September jump in demand for bulkier items that helped offset a slide in digital sales.

On the flip side, Maersk (CSE: MAERSKb ) stock fell 4.5% after the shipping group warned of slowing demand for transport and logistics as a global recession looms, while Wizz Air (LON: WIZZ ) stock fell over 7% after the budget airline posted an operating loss of 63.8 million euros for the March to September half, even while it announced plans to grow its capacity by 35% in the six months to the end of March.

Away from corporate earnings, the U.S. central bank winds up its two-day monetary policy meeting later in the session. The Fed policymakers are widely expected to agree to raise interest rates by 75 basis points, the fourth consecutive increase of this size.

Equity markets have been gaining over the last few days on increased confidence that Fed Chair Jerome Powell will hint, at his subsequent press conference, at the central bank going slow with further rate hikes.

European final PMI data for October are due later in the session, along with German unemployment , and these numbers are expected to provide further evidence of an economic slowdown in this region. 

Oil prices rose Tuesday, adding to the previous session’s gains, helped by a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories, suggesting demand is persisting in the world’s largest crude consumer despite soaring inflation and rising interest rates.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that U.S. crude stockpiles fell by a hefty 6.5 million barrels last week, an eye-opener after the prior week’s build of 4.5 million barrels.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration is due later in the session for confirmation.

By 04:55 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% higher at $88.63 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.1% to $94.72. 

Both benchmarks climbed around 2% on Tuesday following a report that the Chinese government was considering forming a committee to consider ways to relax its restrictive COVID rules, potentially boosting demand in the world's largest oil importer. 

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,656.25/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% higher at 0.9901.

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