European stocks higher; positive start to week ahead of inflation data

  • Stock Market News
European stocks higher; positive start to week ahead of inflation data

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded higher Monday, starting the new week on a positive note as investors await regional inflation data to provide clues on the near-term path of interest rates. 

At 03:40 ET (08:40 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 1.1% higher, the CAC 40 in France climbed 1.1% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. rose 0.7%.

European equities ended sharply lower last week following the negative lead on Wall Street after data showed the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge grew more than expected in January, providing the U.S. central bank with more headroom to keep raising interest rates.

Inflation will also be the key issue in Europe this week, as preliminary February data from Germany , France and Spain are due on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the flash number for the whole euro area on Thursday.

Another 50-basis point rate hike at the European Central Bank's upcoming meeting in mid-March is widely expected, but what follows is uncertain and thus this week’s data will be closely watched.

The markets are currently pricing in another 75 basis points of moves in the Eurozone before the end of the summer.

Elsewhere, investors will also keep an eye on rising tensions between the U.S. and China, after Washington warned Beijing of serious consequences if it provided arms to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Back in Europe, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to meet European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen later in the session in an effort to finalize a new deal for Northern Ireland's trading arrangements following Britain’s departure from the union. 

In the corporate sector, Associated British Foods (LON: ABF ) stock rose 2.2% after the owner of discount retailer Primark said it now expects sales to grow by more than a fifth in the first half as surprisingly strong demand from bargain-hunting customers has helped offset elevated expenses.

Bunzl (LON: BNZL ) stock rose 2.4% after the U.K. distribution firm reported strong growth in revenue and profit in 2022 as well as a 10% increase to its dividend.

Oil prices edged higher Monday, rebounding after last week’s losses on the back of the stronger dollar over concerns that the Federal Reserve will maintain a hawkish stance for longer than previously expected.

A firm dollar makes commodities, like oil, priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for foreign buyers.

Adding to the headwinds, U.S. crude oil inventories surged to the highest level since May 2021 last week, data from the Energy Information Administration showed.

By 03:40 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% higher at $76.52 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.2% to $82.97. Both benchmarks lost around 1% last week, and are on course to lose 4% this month. 

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,819.85/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0559.

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