By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets traded largely higher Tuesday, with oil major BP (NYSE: BP ) leading the corporate earnings slate ahead of policy-setting meetings by key central banks, including the Federal Reserve.
European equity markets are trying to shake off a weak showing in April, with the major indices weighed by concerns about economic growth slowing, rising inflation, and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
U.K.-based energy giant BP’s exit from Russia cost it dearly in the first quarter, the writedown of its stake in oil giant Rosneft driving the oil and gas giant to a $20.38 billion loss.
However, its stock rose 2.2% after the company's underlying profit jumped more than 50% from the previous quarter, allowing it to raise its buyback program by $2.5 billion over the next quarter - the eighth quarter in a row it has managed that.
HSBC (LON: HSBA ) stock rose 1.9% after the U.K.-based bank’s largest shareholder, Chinese insurance giant Ping An, urged a break-up of the lender, potentially spinning off the Asian business, where it earns two-thirds of its pretax profits, in a bid to improve returns.
On the flip side, Galp Energia (LS: GALP ) stock fell 4.6% despite the Portuguese oil and gas company reporting a strong rise in first-quarter profit, boosted by soaring global crude prices and higher production.
Logitech (NASDAQ: LOGI ) stock fell 1.3% after the Swiss tech company reported a 20% drop in sales for its fourth quarter and reduced its fiscal year 2023 outlook, removing the estimate of annual sales and profits that would have been generated in Ukraine and Russia.
A lot of attention will be on central banks this week as a number of them hold policy-setting meetings that could determine market sentiment for weeks to come.
The Reserve Bank of Australia started the ball rolling earlier Tuesday, raising its main cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.35%, its first hike in more than a decade.
The Federal Reserve starts its two-day meeting later Tuesday and is expected to raise rates by a half-point when it hands down its policy decision on Wednesday, while the Bank of England is seen raising interest rates to their highest level in 13 years on Thursday.
Oil prices edged lower Tuesday but remained elevated as the European Union is expected to firm up plans to tighten sanctions on Russia this week, potentially agreeing to an embargo on Moscow’s oil.
There has been disagreement within the bloc over whether to take this next step, but expectations are rising with Germany, the union’s largest economy and de facto leader, saying it was prepared to back an immediate embargo. A deal could include exceptions for Hungary and Slovakia, both heavily dependent on Russian oil imports.
U.S. inventory data for the week ended April 29 from the American Petroleum Institute industry group are due later in the session, as a precursor for government data from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
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