By Peter Nurse
biedexmarkets.com – European stock markets are expected to edge higher at the open Thursday, as investors digest the latest Federal Reserve minutes ahead of key Eurozone inflation data and more corporate earnings.
At 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT), the contract in Germany traded 0.4% higher, in France climbed 0.2%, while the contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.
The main European indexes have had a tricky week to date–the , the and the are all around 1% lower–on concerns that interest rates will have to continue to rise to combat inflation, stifling economic activity.
The final read of Eurozone’s January is due later in the session, and is expected to see an upward revision to 8.6% on the year, from the previous month’s 8.5%. And that was before the unexpected pick-up in business activity this month.
, the president of the European Central Bank, reaffirmed last week the central bank’s intention to raise borrowing costs by another half-point next month, and further hikes into the early summer look very likely.
The of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, released late Wednesday, showed some policymakers wanted to slow the pace of interest so they could read the incoming economic data.
But that was before the barnstorming January largely ended talk of an imminent recession.
Fed fund futures now price in three more hikes this year, taking the U.S. central bank’s target range for the fed funds rate to 5.25%-5.50% from 4.5%-4.75%.
The earnings season continues apace in Europe, with Deutsche Telekom’s (ETR:) fourth-quarter coming in slightly ahead of expectations, helped by customer growth in Germany and strong performance from T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:).
Accor (EPA:) beat expectations for its annual core profit, with Europe’s biggest hotel group citing “very good” activity in December.
Results are also scheduled from the likes of WPP (LON:), Rolls-Royce (LON:), BAE Systems (LON:), Munich Re (EBR:) and AXA (EPA:).
Oil prices edged higher Thursday, finding some support after a lengthy losing streak on increasing concerns higher interest rates will limit economic activity and thus fuel demand.
Additionally, data from the showed U.S. oil stocks rose almost 10 million barrels last week, prompting investor worries about demand at the world’s largest consumer. Inventories have now climbed every week since mid-December.
By 02:00 ET, futures traded 0.2% higher at $74.07 a barrel, after dropping for six consecutive days, while the contract rose 0.2% to $80.75.
Additionally, fell 0.1% to $1,839.45/oz, while traded 0.2% higher at 1.0622.