By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets edged higher Wednesday in tight trading ranges with the focus firmly on the monthly U.S. inflation report, which could guide future Federal Reserve monetary policy.
Sentiment is guarded Wednesday as investors await the release of the U.S. CPI index for March to gauge just how sticky prices are likely to be and thus the likely monetary response from the Federal Reserve.
The general perception is that the Fed is near the end of its aggressive rate-hiking cycle, but there may still be room for another increase in May, when the policymakers next get together.
Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker made this point on Tuesday, saying that he feels the Fed may soon be done raising interest rates while reiterating that the central bank is committed to bringing inflation down from its elevated levels.
There’s little in the way of major economic data due in Europe Wednesday, and thus stock markets are likely to trade in something of a holding pattern ahead of the U.S. inflation report.
In corporate news, Volvo (ST: VOLVb ) stock soared 8% after the Swedish truck maker reported a record first-quarter profit despite supply bottlenecks and cost inflation.
Mercedes Benz (ETR: MBGn ) stock rose 0.4% after the German car manufacturer said its sales rose moderately in the first quarter of this year, boosted by electric vehicles and premium cars.
Oil prices edged higher Wednesday ahead of the release of the all-important U.S. inflation data as well as the U.S. government crude inventories.
Dollar weakness helped the crude benchmarks post gains of around 2% on Tuesday, even after the American Petroleum Institute , an industry body, reported crude stockpiles rose by about 380,000 barrels last week, against expectations for a small decline.
The U.S. government will release its stockpile data later this session.
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.