European stocks mixed; German state inflation drops sharply

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European stocks mixed; German state inflation drops sharply
Credit: © Reuters. - European stock markets traded in a mixed fashion Wednesday, with investors struggling to build momentum ahead of the week’s key inflation data. 

At 03:00 ET (08:00 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.1% higher, while the CAC 40 in France traded down 0.2% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. fell 0.3%.

European stocks have had a good November, with the benchmark STOXX 600 on course for its best monthly performance since January.

ECB comments limit gains

However, these gains have largely stalled of late in the wake of hawkish comments from a number of senior ECB officials over the future path of interest rates.

Bundesbank chief Joachim Nagel said on Tuesday the European Central Bank may need to raise interest rates again if the inflation outlook worsened, while ECB President Christine Lagarde said on Monday the bank's fight to contain price growth was not yet done. 

Data on EU inflation is due on Thursday, which could provide context for these comments. 

Ahead of this, Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine Westphalia, saw consumer prices fall 0.3% on the month in November, a larger drop than expected, with the annual figure rising 3.0%, a significant slowing from 4.2% the prior month. 

U.S. inflation data also due 

Thursday also sees the release of the Federal Reserve's favoured measure of inflation - personal consumption expenditures - and investors will be hoping that this will bolster the case for an end to the U.S. central bank’s rate hikes.

These hopes were given a boost late Tuesday after Christopher Waller , usually regarded as one of the more hawkish Fed officials, flagged that U.S. interest rates could be cut in the months ahead.

Crude rises on supply disruptions

Oil prices recorded small gains Wednesday, boosted by more supply disruptions ahead of a crucial OPEC+ meeting to discuss future production levels. 

By 03:00 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $76.47 a barrel, while the Brent contract traded largely unchanged at $81.46 a barrel. 

A severe storm in the Black Sea region has disrupted up to 2 million barrels per day of oil exports from Kazakhstan and Russia, fuelling concerns of short-term supply tightness.

These worries, however, could be alleviated if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a group known as OPEC+, decides to announce deeper production cuts at its meeting on Thursday.

This gathering has been delayed from Sunday after disagreements between members over production targets, suggesting agreements will not be easy to reach.

Oil also found support from a drop in U.S. crude inventories, with industry body American Petroleum Institute estimating a fall of 817,000 barrels last week. Official data is scheduled for release later in the session.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $2,042.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0985.


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