By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open in a cautious manner Friday as investors cautiously digest a plethora of corporate earnings as well as key Eurozone growth data.
Investors have been fretting for large parts of this year over whether aggressive monetary tightening will lead to a global recession. This brings the latest growth data out of the Eurozone firmly into focus this session.
The region is expected to have grown slightly in the second quarter, with economists calling for GDP to rise 0.2% on the quarter, a slowdown from the 0.6% quarterly growth in the first three-month period.
French GDP rose 0.5% on the quarter, ahead of the 0.2% growth expected, but there must still be risk to the downside, with European Central Bank Governing Council member Ignazio Visco warning on Thursday that there was the risk of a recession for the region.
Thursday’s data showed the U.S. economy contracted again in the second quarter, as the country’s gross domestic product fell at a 0.9% annualized rate last quarter, after a 1.6% contraction in the quarter before that.
Two consecutive quarters of negative growth is widely seen as the technical definition of a recession, but the U.S. does not adhere to that definition.
Additionally, China did not mention its full-year GDP growth target after a high-level Communist Party meeting, suggesting the target may prove hard to hit as the country continues to struggle with COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns.
On the corporate front, Standard Chartered's (LON: STAN ) first-half pretax profit rose 19%, above market expectations, as the emerging markets-focused lender benefited from rising interest rates and gave an upbeat outlook.
Renault (EPA: RENA ) recorded a €1.36 billion ($1.39 billion) net loss in the first half of the year from the cost of closing its Russian business, but the French carmaker upgraded its full-year outlook because of improving profitability elsewhere.
French bank BNP Paribas (EPA: BNPP ) reported better than expected profits in the second quarter as bad loan provisions dipped despite the economic slowdown, while Air France KLM (EPA: AIRF ) downgraded its capacity forecast for the third quarter, citing operational difficulties at airports.
Oil prices edged higher Friday, with attention turning to next week’s meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, and its discussion of future production levels.
The members have now unwound the record 9.7 million barrels per day supply cut they agreed on in April 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic slammed demand. It could be difficult for the group to boost supply significantly given that many members are struggling to meet their current production quotas due to a lack of investment.
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