By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets traded marginally lower Thursday, with turmoil in the crypto market dampening sentiment while investors continued to digest U.S. midterm elections as well as quarterly corporate results.
The U.S. political climate remained uncertain Thursday, two days after the midterm elections, with Republicans edging closer to securing a majority in the House of Representatives, while control of the Senate hung in the balance.
Adding to the risk-averse mood was the news that Binance has walked away from a bailout of crypto exchange FTX after due diligence, leaving the smaller company on the verge of collapse.
Back in Europe, quarterly corporate earnings continued to flow.
ArcelorMittal (AS: MT ) stock fell 0.5% after the world’s second-largest steelmaker said its profits dropped in the third quarter, hurt by both high energy costs and weakening demand.
AstraZeneca (LON: AZN ) stock rose 1.4% after the drugs giant raised its guidance for full-year income, citing strong returns in its third quarter, while Haleon (LON: HLN ), the former consumer health arm of GSK (LON: GSK ), stock rose 0.9% after lifting its sales outlook as part of its first quarterly report as a standalone entity.
Zurich Insurance (SIX: ZURN ) stock fell 1.2% after the insurer announced it will likely take a net $550 million pretax hit from Hurricane Ian.
The European data slate is largely empty Thursday, with the day’s main focus set to be on U.S. inflation data later in the session. Economists expect the annual headline rate to fall to 8.0%, the lowest since February.
Oil prices edged lower Thursday, continuing to retreat on concerns for demand growth from China, the world’s largest importer, on renewed COVID restrictions as cases surge, coupled with a rise in U.S. crude oil inventories.
The city of Guangzhou, a key manufacturing hub, reported more than 2,000 new cases for Nov. 9, the third day above that level, while local cases across China reached their highest since April 30.
U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose by 3.9M barrels last week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration Wednesday, taking inventories to their highest since July 2021.
The bulk of this increase, however, could be put down to a roughly 3.5M barrel drawdown from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Brent prices have dropped more than 6% so far this week, while WTI is down more than 7%.
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