European stocks edged higher; eurozone inflation in focus

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European stocks edged higher; eurozone inflation in focus - European stock markets edged higher Tuesday, with investors awaiting the release of the latest eurozone inflation data as they start unwinding before the Christmas holidays. 

At 03:15 ET (08:15 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.3% higher, the CAC 40 in France traded up 0.1% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. rose 0.3%.

Eurozone inflation in focus

The focus in Europe Tuesday will be on the release of the final reading of eurozone inflation for November, as investors try to figure out the future path of interest rates in the region.

Eurozone CPI is expected to be confirmed at an annual rate of 2.4% in November, a monthly drop of 0.5%, and not far removed from the European Central Bank’s 2% target.

The ECB kept interest rates unchanged last week, as widely expected, amid market speculation that the central bank’s prolonged rate-hiking cycle has come to an end and it would start cutting next year.

Policymakers at the ECB have been trying to rein in these expectations since last week’s meeting, with Slovenia's central bank governor Bostjan Vasle saying on Monday that the ECB will need at least until spring before it can reassess its policy outlook, adding market expectations for an interest rate cut in March or April are premature.

The Bank of Japan earlier Tuesday decided to leave its ultra-easy policy settings and dovish forward guidance unchanged.

Bayer (OTC: BAYRY ) suffers legal setback

In corporate news, Bayer (ETR: BAYGN ) stock rose 0.4% despite a U.S. jury ordered Monsanto (NYSE: MON ), owned by the German chemicals giant, to pay $857 million to former students and parent volunteers of a U.S. school who claimed that chemicals made by the company made them ill. 

Bayer announced plans to appeal.

UBS (SIX: UBSG ) stock rose 1.5% after Cevian Capital announced it had taken a 1.3% stake in the Swiss banking giant, worth around €1.2 billion (€1 = $1.0931), with the activist investor group seeing "significant value potential" following its takeover of Credit Suisse (SIX: CSGN ).

Crude stabilizes on naval task force plan

Oil prices stabilized Tuesday after the previous session’s gains, as the U.S. announced plans to expand a naval task force to protect shipping through the Red Sea.

By 03:15 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.2% lower at $72.66 a barrel, while the Brent contract traded flat at $77.96 a barrel. 

Both benchmarks rose more than 1% on Monday on concerns about shippers diverting vessels away from the Red Sea, causing supply disruptions, in the face of an increase of assaults by Houthi militants in Yemen.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $2,038.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0932.


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