European stocks higher; German inflation data offers hope

  • Stock Market News
European stocks higher; German inflation data offers hope
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded higher Monday, at the start of a week that includes important inflation data, a policy-setting meeting by the Bank of Japan as well as the return of the World Economic Forum to Davos.

At 03:30 ET (08:30 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.2% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.1% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. climbed 0.1%.

Trading volumes are lighter in Europe Monday, with the U.S. stock market closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. 

There was some positive news early Monday as German wholesale prices fell 1.6% on the month in December, a welcome retreat. On the year the wholesale prices rose by 12.8%, compared with a November reading of 14.9%. Wholesale price growth peaked in April, with a 23.8% year-on-year increase.

That said, the early focus this week is likely to be on the release of Germany’s ZEW survey of economic sentiment for January on Tuesday.

This is expected to show an improvement to -15.5 from -23.3 in December, and European equities have benefited from this boosted sentiment, with both the DAX and the CAC 40 over 8% higher so far this year.

This has largely been as a result of signs that inflation is on the retreat, allowing central banks to ease back from their aggressive monetary tightening.

The Bank of Japan has been the major outlier, largely maintaining its very accommodative monetary stance even as its main peers tightened interest rates drastically.

However, this may be changing after the BOJ stunned markets last month by widening the band around its 10-year bond yield target, a move that investors saw as a prelude to a future rate hike.

This places Wednesday’s policy-setting meeting firmly in focus amid speculation that it could make further adjustments to its yield curve control policy, the first stage of phasing out its massive stimulus.

The World Economic Forum returns to the Swiss ski resort of Davos this week, with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz among the dignitaries expected to attend the glitzy affair after a pandemic-influenced three year absence.

Corporate earnings are set to pick up as the week progresses, but as far as Monday is concerned, ITM Power (LON: ITM ), the U.K.-based maker of hydrogen fuel cells, warned of lower revenue and a wider loss in the current fiscal year. Its stock fell 14%. 

Airbus (EPA: AIR ) stock fell 0.8% after analysts at Berenberg downgraded their outlook for the European planemaker to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’, warning that recently high inflation and ongoing supply chain challenges will likely impact the company in 2023.

Oil prices fell Monday, handing back some of last week’s strong gains at the start of a week that includes a plethora of economic data as well as demand forecasts from OPEC and the IEA.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries releases its latest analysis on Tuesday, followed by the International Energy Agency the following day. Traders will be looking to see what the agencies say about China’s oil demand after the world’s top crude importer removed COVID-19 curbs in late 2022 after years of strict lockdowns. 

By 03:30 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.3% lower at $79.06 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 1% to $84.39. Both contracts gained over 8% last week on optimism over China’s opening and following signs of cooling U.S. inflation, hitting the dollar .

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,914.85/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.0809.

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