European stocks edge lower; U.S. political uncertainty weighs

  • Stock Market News
European stocks edge lower; U.S. political uncertainty  weighs
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets edged lower Wednesday, as investors cautiously studied the U.S. midterm election results as well as a number of corporate earnings.

At 03:55 ET (08:55 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.6% lower, CAC 40 in France fell 0.2%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. dropped 0.3%.

European investors are awaiting the results from the U.S. midterm elections, with Democrat President Joe Biden's legislative agenda under threat.

The latest results point towards the Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives, creating the potential for political gridlock, while the race for command of the Senate looks too close to call.

Given the contentious nature of U.S. politics, it may take days for a clear picture to emerge.

Back in Europe, there have been a number of significant quarterly corporate earnings to digest.

Ahold Delhaize (AS: AD ) stock rose 1.8% after the Dutch-Belgian supermarket group raised its annual outlook for the third time this year on the back of a strong increase in sales and earnings in the third quarter.

The sectorial news was less pretty out of the U.K., with Marks and Spencer (LON: MKS ) stock down 4% after the U.K. retailer put off a decision on resuming shareholder payouts until closer to the end of its fiscal year, with inflation hitting the company's margins in its important food division.

In the banking sector, ABN Amro (AS: ABNd ) stock rose 4.4% after the Dutch bank reported a more than doubling of its net profit in the third quarter, helped by rising interest rates and low impairments.

Commerzbank (ETR: CBKG ) stock fell 5% after the German lender reported a 52% drop in its net profit in the third quarter following previously flagged problems at a Polish unit.

Adidas (ETR: ADSGN ) stock rose 0.2% despite the sportswear retailer cutting its net income forecast for 2022 in half as a result of the split from the rapper formerly known as Kanye West ahead of the key Christmas season. The company had warned last month that the decision to end the tie-up would have financial repercussions.

Oil prices slipped Wednesday, as continued worries about Chinese demand in the wake of fresh COVID outbreaks as well as a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles weighed.

COVID-19 cases in the important manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, as well as a number of other Chinese cities, have surged, with millions of residents required to have tests on Wednesday.

Continued outbreaks, coupled with the maintenance of the country’s strict mobility restrictions, have hampered economic activity this year, hitting the demand for crude by the world’s largest importer.

Additionally, data from the American Petroleum Institute indicated U.S. crude oil inventories rose by about 5.6 million barrels last week, a larger than expected rise.

Official crude stocks data from the Energy Information Administration are due later in the session.

By 03:55 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% lower at $88.50 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.3% to $95.08.

Additionally, gold futures traded largely flat at $1,715.90/oz, while EUR/USD traded unchanged at 1.0071.

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