European stocks largely higher; Nvidia earnings, PMI data in focus

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European stocks largely higher; Nvidia earnings, PMI data in focus - European stock markets edged largely higher Thursday, as investors digested the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve minutes, earnings from AI darling Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA ) and eurozone economic activity data.

At 03:20 ET (07:20 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.3% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.3%, while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. dropped 0.1%.

Fed minutes express inflation concern 

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, released late Wednesday, showed officials at the U.S. central bank remained concerned about U.S. inflation.

While the minutes pointed to the central bank keeping rates high for longer, they had been preceded by a string of speeches from Fed officials suggesting sticky inflation was likely to delay any potential rate cuts. 

Back in Europe, the European Central Bank is widely expected to cut interest rates in June, but there remains uncertainty over how many more cuts the central bank will authorize this year.

Flash Purchasing Managers Index figures in the eurozone will take center stage on Thursday, and investors will be looking for signs of growth.

Elsewhere, the U.K. market is also in the spotlight after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced late Wednesday that a general election will be held on July 4.  

Nvidia shines in first quarter

In corporate news, Nvidia reported strong first-quarter earnings, and the chipmaker also offered robust revenue guidance for the current quarter. 

The firm also announced a 10-for-one stock split, and said it was raising its quarterly dividend by 150% to 1 cent per share, on a post-split basis.

Hargreaves Lansdown (LON: HRGV ) stock soared 12% after the fund manager rejected an offer from a consortium led by private equity giant CVC.

Wizz Air (LON: WIZZ ) stock rose almost 5% after the budget airline said that it returned to profit in the year to the end of March amid "sustained" demand.

Crude falls after Fed minutes

Crude prices fell Tuesday, dropping for the fourth consecutive session, as the Fed minutes pointed to U.S. interest rates remaining at elevated levels for some time.

By 03:20 ET, the U.S. crude futures (WTI) traded 0.3% lower at $77.34 per barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.2% to $81.72 per barrel.

Higher interest rates boost borrowing costs, crunching funds that could boost economic growth and oil demand in the world's largest oil consuming nation.

Also weighing on the market, U.S. crude stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration, compared with an estimate for a 2.5 million-barrel draw.

Additionally, gold futures rose 1.1% to $2,366.40/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0812.


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