European stock futures largely higher; Powell speech boosts sentiment

  • Stock Market News
European stock futures largely higher; Powell speech boosts sentiment

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are expected to open largely higher Wednesday, as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell ahead of more major corporate earnings.

At 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.7% higher, the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.6%, while CAC 40 futures in France slipped 0.1%.

European stocks are seen taking their lead from Wall Street, which closed firmly higher Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell struck a less hawkish tone than feared during a speech at the Economic Club of Washington D.C.

Powell stated that the U.S. was experiencing disinflation after a series of sharp interest rate hikes through 2022. While he also warned that further rate increases are still appropriate, investors have taken his comments optimistically as they look for signs that the Fed is getting close to pausing its rate increases. 

His speech followed Friday’s strong U.S. jobs report , which was seen giving the Fed more economic headroom to keep raising interest rates. 

Back in Europe, the quarterly earnings season continues in full flow.

Societe Generale SA (EPA: SOGN ), France's third biggest bank, posted a higher-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter, even while reporting a 64% drop in annual profits in 2022, driven by a strong performance of its corporate and investment banking division.

Equinor (OL: EQNR ), the Norwegian oil and gas producer, posted a record $74.9 billion adjusted operating profit for 2022, more than double its previous record thanks to soaring gas prices.

Results are also scheduled Wednesday from the likes of Credit Agricole SA (EPA: CAGR ), TotalEnergies (EPA: TTEF ), Maersk (CSE: MAERSKb ) and Vestas Wind Systems (CSE: VWS ).

Oil prices edged higher Wednesday, helped by bullish inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute , adding to recent gains on optimism over the recovery in demand from China, the largest crude importer in the world.

The industry group showed crude stocks fell by about 2.2 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 3, defying expectations of growth of 2.5 million barrels.

The official inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due later in the session.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.4% higher at $77.43 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.2% to $83.84. Both contracts are up close to 4% this month to date.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,887.90/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0727.

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