European Stock Futures Higher; Fed Officials Calm Inflation Fears

This post was originally published on this site – European stock markets are seen opening higher Tuesday, helped by promises of continued Federal Reserve largesse ahead of the release of the latest growth data for the region.

At 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.4% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.3% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.7%. 

European stock markets have struggled of late over worries that growing inflationary pressures could force the Federal Reserve to start tapering its ultra-easy monetary policies in the near future.

However, Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan on Monday reiterated his view that he does not expect interest rates to rise until next year, while Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida pointed to the disappointing jobs report as evidence the U.S. economy had not yet reached the threshold to warrant scaling back the central bank’s massive bond purchases.

These comments have helped to reassure the markets, and put the focus firmly on Wednesday’s release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month, which could shed more light on the policymakers’ outlook on inflation.

In Europe, attention will now turn to the release of the flash estimate of Eurozone first-quarter gross domestic product, which is expected to show that the bloc contracted by 0.6% in the first quarter, compared with the final quarter of last year, and by 1.8% on an annual basis, as the region coped with fresh lockdowns.

Earlier Tuesday data showed that Japan’s GDP contracted a more-than-expected 5.1% year-on-year and 1.3% quarter-on-quarter during the first quarter of 2021, as the Asian country struggled to contain a fresh outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.

U.K. unemployment data for March surprised positively, with the claimant count dropping by 15,000 and the unemployment rate falling to 4.8%.

In corporate news, Italian insurer Generali (MI:GASI) will be in focus after its first-quarter profits beat expectations, helped by the positive contribution from the non-life and asset management businesses.

Earnings from the likes of HomeServe (LON:HSV), Imperial Brands (OTC:IMBBY) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) are also scheduled.

Oil prices pushed higher Tuesday, continuing the optimism of the previous session as the major oil-consuming economies of the U.S. and Europe further reopen on the back of successful vaccination programs.

U.S. airports recorded 1.85 million passengers on Sunday, the highest number since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in early March 2020. In Europe, the U.K. further relaxed restrictions and both Portugal and the Netherlands have opened up travel.

That said, worries still exist about the Covid-19 situation in India, the third largest consumer of oil in the world, as well as new outbreaks in other parts of Asia, including Taiwan and Singapore.  

Investors now await U.S. crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% higher at $66.45 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.3% to $69.66.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,870.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.2172.

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