European Stock Futures Largely Flat; BHP Group Reports Bumper Profits

  • Stock Market News
European Stock Futures Largely Flat; BHP Group Reports Bumper Profits
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are struggling for direction Tuesday, with concerns about slowing global growth competing with strong BHP Group earnings ahead of the release of key German ZEW sentiment data.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded flat, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.1%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.1%.

European stocks edged higher Monday but growth worries continue to be the dominant theme.

China’s central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates on Monday after data showed economic activity and credit expansion slowed sharply in July, while New York state factory activity fell in August to the lowest since near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Back in Europe, persistent fears of production cuts in Germany, the region’s main growth driver, due to potential gas rationing are weighing on sentiment. 

This brings the German ZEW Economic Sentiment Index for August, due for release later in the session, firmly into focus.

The U.K. claimant count dropped 10,500 in July, while the June unemployment rate remained at 3.8%, indicating the country’s labor market remained strong despite the Bank of England warning of an upcoming prolonged recession.

In corporate news, BHP Group (LON: BHPB ) will be in the spotlight Tuesday after the world's biggest miner by market value reported bumper profits on surging commodity prices. The Anglo-Australian group announced an annual earnings jump of 26% to $21.3 billion - its highest since 2011 - as well as a record dividend.

The company also failed to rule out a second approach after its spurned $6 billion bid for OZ Minerals (ASX: OZL ).

Swedish fashion giant H&M (ST: HMb ) could also be in focus after its official store on Alibaba's (NYSE: BABA ) Tmall e-commerce platform has re-opened, 16 months after the Chinese site took it down following the brand's criticisms of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Oil prices fell Tuesday, extending recent losses on concerns of a deepening economic slowdown as well as a potential increase in OPEC supply.

Data on Monday showing U.S. manufacturing activity slowed much more sharply than thought over the last month, coupled with bleak industrial production data from top crude buyer China renewed fears of a global recession.

On the supply side, Iran responded positively to the European Union's "final" draft text to save a 2015 nuclear deal on Monday, which could result in the removal of sanctions on Iranian oil exports, while Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL: 2222 ), the world’s largest crude producer, also said it could potentially increase output.

Industry data on U.S. crude stockpiles are due later in the session on Tuesday.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1% lower at $88.48 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 1.2% to $93.94. Both contracts fell around 3% on Monday, touching their lowest levels since early February. 

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,796.20/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1066.

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