European stocks higher; inflation, PMI data help tone

  • Stock Market News
European stocks higher; inflation, PMI data help tone

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets climbed higher Wednesday, continuing the positive start to the new year helped by more positive economic data.

At 04:35 ET (09:35 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 1.1% higher, the CAC 40 in France traded up 1.1%, and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. climbed 0.2%.

French inflation unexpectedly fell in December, according to provisional data on Wednesday, with the EU-harmonized annual inflation rate dropping to 6.7% during the month, down from 7.1% in November, continuing the positive news from neighboring Germany earlier this week.

Additionally, Eurozone business activity contracted less than initially thought at the end of last year as price pressures eased, with the region's final composite Purchasing Managers' Index rising to 49.3 in December from November's 47.8.

These numbers suggest the European Central Bank could pause its monetary tightening earlier than previously expected, potentially contributing to the Eurozone's recession not being as deep as expected.

Later in the session, there are more U.S. employment numbers scheduled as well as the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting.

Investors will likely comb through the report for any hints on what Fed policymakers are thinking on the direction of interest rates . The current market sentiment is expecting a quarter-percentage point increase in the benchmark rate at the Fed's next meeting, while divergence between doves and hawks regarding how high the terminal rate should go will also be of interest.

Oil prices fell Wednesday, continuing the weak start to the new year, on concerns that economic activity will be hit by a global recession and thus weigh on demand in 2023.

This followed comments by the head of the International Monetary Fund, who warned that much of the global economy would see a tough year in 2023 as the main engines of global growth - the United States, Europe, and China - are all experiencing weakening activity.

The industry group American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release weekly data on U.S. crude inventories later in the session, a day later than usual following Monday’s holiday.

By 04:35 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.8% lower at $75.53 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 1.9% to $80.55. Both contracts fell over 4% on Tuesday.

Additionally, gold futures rose 1.2% to $1,867.25/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.7% higher at 1.0623.

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