European stocks lower; caution ahead of Powell speech

  • Stock Market News
European stocks lower; caution ahead of Powell speech
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets fell Tuesday, with investors taking a cautious stance ahead of a widely-anticipated speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

At 04:05 ET (09:05 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.6% lower, the CAC 40 in France fell 0.7% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. dropped 0.3%.

Economic data out of Europe has been relatively strong of late, raising hopes that the Eurozone will only suffer a shallow recession in the new year, overturning earlier fears of a severe slowdown.

In fact, Goldman Sachs is no longer predicting a Eurozone recession after the economy proved more resilient at the end of 2022, seeing the region’s gross domestic product increasing 0.6% this year, compared with an earlier forecast for a contraction of 0.1%.

The positive data continued Tuesday, as U.K. retail sales rose 6.5% last month compared with a year earlier, according to numbers from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

French industrial production rose 2.0% on the month in November, stronger growth than the 0.8% expected, and a considerable improvement from the revised fall of 2.5% the prior month.

However, investors are showing caution ahead of a speech by Fed boss Powell later in the session, as they seek more clarity on the pace of future U.S. rate hikes .

Aggressive monetary tightening by the Fed has prompted fears of a recession in the U.S., which would weigh heavily on the global market given the importance of the largest economy in the world.

In corporate news, BMW (ETR: BMWG ) stock rose 0.6% after the German auto giant said its brand delivered 2.1 million vehicles in 2022, down 5.1% from the previous year, but still maintained its number one position in the global premium segment.

Oil prices fell Tuesday, handing back some of the previous session’s gains on fears that further interest rate hikes in the U.S., the largest consumer of crude in the world, would curb demand.

Industry group American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to release its weekly data on U.S. crude inventories later in the session, while the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, is also due to release its short-term energy outlook .

By 04:05 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% lower at $74.27 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.7% to $79.11.

Both benchmarks climbed 1% on Monday, after China, the world's biggest oil importer and second-largest consumer, opened its borders over the weekend for the first time in three years.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,880.70/oz, while EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.0732.

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