European stocks fall on rate cut uncertainity, weak Chinese growth data

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European stocks fall on rate cut uncertainity, weak Chinese growth data
Credit: © Reuters.

Investing.com - European stock markets fell sharply Wednesday on increased uncertainty over the likelihood of early interest rate cuts as well as disappointing Chinese growth data. 

At 03:10 ET (08:10 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 1.2% lower, the CAC 40 in France traded down 1.4% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. fell 1.4%.

Uncertainty over rate cuts hits sentiment

Risk appetite is on the back foot in Europe Wednesday, following the weakness on Wall Street overnight after Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller indicated interest rate cuts could come later and be implemented more slowly than markets have been positioning for.

This followed on from European Central Bank policymaker Joachim Nagel saying earlier this week, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, that it was too early to talk about cuts as inflation was still too high.

His point of view received a boost Wednesday after the U.K. consumer price inflation rose for the first time in 10 months in December, increasing to 4.0% on an annual basis from a more-than-two-year low 3.9% in November.

Eurozone consumer inflation had earlier increased to 2.9% in December, from 2.4% the prior month, reversing six months of consecutive falls.

Chinese GDP growth disappoints

Also weighing on sentiment Wednesday was disappointing growth data from China, the second biggest economy in the world and a major regional growth driver.

Gross domestic product grew 5.2% year-on-year in the three months to the end of last year, weaker than expectations for growth of 5.3%, while GDP grew 1% quarter-on-quarter, as expected, but slowed from the prior quarter’s reading of 1.3%.

Renault returns to sales growth

In the corporate sector, Renault (EPA: RENA ) stock rose 1.8% despite the car manufacturer posting an increase in its annual global sales volumes, returning to growth after four consecutive years of decline.

Just Eat Takeaway (AS: TKWY ) stock rose 0.7% after Europe’s biggest meal delivery group said it expects to report full-year adjusted core earnings above its previously announced target, after a best ever quarterly performance in Northern Europe, the UK and Ireland.

GSK (LON: GSK ) stock fell 0.7% after the British drugmaker said it had raised just under £1 billion from a discounted stake sale in Haleon, cutting its shareholding to 4.2% in the world's largest standalone consumer healthcare firm.

Crude hit by weak Chinese growth data 

Oil prices retreated Wednesday following the disappointing growth data from China, the world's second-largest crude user, raising concerns about future demand increases.

By 03:10 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 1.5% lower at $71.47 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 1.4% to $77.25 a barrel.

Additionally, the U.S. dollar hovered near a one-month high on Wednesday after comments from Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller lowered expectations for aggressive interest rate cuts. The stronger greenback reduces demand for dollar-denominated oil for buyers paying with other currencies.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $2,027.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0879.

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