European stocks higher; U.K. GDP surprises to the upside

  • Stock Market News
European stocks higher; U.K. GDP surprises to the upside
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded higher Friday, with the economic outlook boosted by stronger-than-expected U.K. growth in November.

At 03:55 ET (08:55 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.1% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.5% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. climbed 0.6%.

Data released earlier Friday showed that the British economy eked out modest growth in November as the start of the FIFA World Cup supported consumption, beating expectations of a contraction in the month.

Gross domestic product rose by 0.1% from October, a better result than the 0.3% drop expected, but the country’s GDP over the rolling three-month period was still down by 0.3% through November, measured against the previous three months. 

While U.K. data could get more ugly in the coming months as high inflation erodes spending power, this number still adds to the current narrative that the economic downturn in Europe may be less severe than first feared.

The final CPI release in France showed that inflation fell to 6.7% in December from 7.1% in November, in line with earlier preliminary inflation figures, and the latest sign that slowing energy price rises are helping Europe overcome the worst of the inflation crisis.

This news is adding to the positive momentum generated by Thursday’s soft U.S. inflation data, which suggests the U.S. Federal Reserve could slow its rate hikes further in early February.

That said, it’s clear the global economy isn’t out of the woods just yet. 

The World Bank earlier this week cut its growth forecast for the global economy to just 1.7% this year, after estimating last June that it would grow at a 3% rate.

In the corporate sector, Vodafone (LON: VOD ) stock fell 0.2% after the Financial Times reported that the telecommunications giant is planning to cut several hundred jobs, most of which will be at its London headquarters, to rein in costs.

Kindred Group (LON: 0RDS ) stock slumped 17% after the online gambling operator issued a fourth-quarter profit warning, while ITV (LON: ITV ) stock climbed 2% after the broadcaster’s launch of ITVX, a free, ad-funded streaming service increased the company’s streaming hours by 55% in its first month.

In the U.S., quarterly earnings are scheduled from the banking giants, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ), Citigroup (NYSE: C ), JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ). Investors will be eager to hear their thoughts on a possible recession this year and how it will affect consumer spending.

Oil prices edged higher Friday, on track for solid weekly gains on growing confidence that China’s reopening will lead to a jump in demand from the world’s largest importer this year.

The crude market also received a boost on Thursday with the release of the soft U.S. consumer price index, which pointed to a less hawkish outlook for the Federal Reserve, weighing on the U.S. dollar .

By 03:55 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.4% higher at $78.69 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.3% to $84.28. Both contracts have gained over 6% so far this week.

Additionally, gold futures traded 0.6% higher to $1,910.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0856.

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