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European stocks retreat after hawkish Fed; more inflation data in focus

Published 13-06-2024, 12:42 pm
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Investing.com - European stock markets fell Thursday as a hawkish Federal Reserve raised concerns about the additional easing of monetary policy going forward.

At 03:05 ET (07:05 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.3% lower, the CAC 40 in France fell 0.2% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. dropped 0.2%.

Hawkish Fed weighs 

The U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, as widely expected, but in a hawkish surprise the central bank officials now believe that fewer rate cuts are needed this year, as inflation is expected to trend higher than previously expected.

Fed members now see the benchmark rate falling to 5.1% this year, from the current range of 5.25% to 5.5%, suggesting just one rate cut in 2024, compared with a prior estimate in March for three cuts.

Additionally, four FOMC committee members called for no cuts this year, a much more hawkish stance than had been expected.

The European Central Bank cut interest rates last Thursday for the first time since 2019, but held back from any promise to follow up its move, creating a degree of uncertainty over what follows.

More inflation data in focus

This means investors will be paying close attention to upcoming economic data for clues over future interest rate moves.

Wednesday’s benign U.S. inflation is likely to help limit equity losses in Europe Thursday, but data released earlier Thursday showed Spanish consumer prices grew 3.6% on an annual basis in May, a jump from 3.3% the prior month.

By contrast, German wholesale prices fell by 0.7% in May compared with the same month last year.

U.S. PPI data later on Thursday will get a lot of attention, while the conclusion of the Fed meeting means policymakers will be back on the speaking circuit, starting with New York Fed President John Williams at the Economic Club of New York.

St James’s Place hires new CFO

St James's Place stock fell 1.4% after the British wealth manager said it had hired UBS executive Caroline Waddington to be its chief financial officer, succeeding Craig Gentle who plans to retire.

She will join St James’s Place in the second half of the year, at which point Gentle - who has served as CFO since January 2018 - will step down as a director.

Crude falls on surprise U.S. stocks build 

Crude prices fell Thursday after a surprise build in U.S. crude inventories, while the IEA also trimmed its oil demand growth forecast for 2024. 

By 03:05 ET, the U.S. crude futures (WTI) traded 0.4% lower at $78.19 per barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.4% to $82.27 per barrel.

Government data, released on Wednesday, showed that U.S. oil inventories unexpectedly grew by 3.7 million barrels in the first week of June, against expectations for a draw of 1.2 million barrels.

Outsized builds in distillates and gasoline stockpiles also drove up concerns that fuel demand was not picking up with the summer season as expected. 

Additionally, the International Energy Agency trimmed its outlook for demand growth in 2024 by 100,000 barrels per day to 960,000 bpd, in its monthly report

 

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