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European Stock Futures Largely Flat; Corporate Earnings Seen Key

Stock MarketsApr 20, 2021 02:05AM ET
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By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are seen opening largely unchanged Tuesday, with investors preparing for the next round of corporate earnings while lacking a major lead from overnight trading. 

At 3:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.1%, while the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.1%. 

The major U.S. indices drifted lower from record levels on Monday, weighed by overall weakness in the technology sector. Trading in Asia has been generally subdued, with Japan’s Nikkei falling 2% as the country widened regional lockdowns to grapple with a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. 

The People’s Bank of China kept its loan prime rate steady at 3.85% earlier in the day, as widely expected, and investors are also keeping a watching brief ahead of the latest European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.

Ahead of that, it’s the corporate sector which is generating the most interest as the earnings season continues. 

French IT consulting group Atos (PA:ATOS) will be in focus Tuesday after it announced it had acquired three more companies, buying Canada-based Processia, UK-based Ipsotek and German cybersecurity firm Cryptovision, while providing no financial details.

Earnings are due from the likes of luxury goods retailer Kering (PA:PRTP), French foods giant Danone (PA:DANO) and U.K. retailer Associated British Foods (OTC:ASBFY), the owner of  low-cost fashion house Primark.  

Over in the U.S., streaming giant Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is set to kick off the key FAANG results after the close Tuesday, while there will also be numbers from the likes of drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and consumer goods manufacturer Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG).  

Back in Europe, U.K. jobless figures for February came in better than expected, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.9%, versus the expected rise to 5.1%, compared with January’s 5.0%. German producer prices for March also surprised to the upside, climbing 0.9% on the month, a gain of 3.7% on the year.

Oil prices strengthened Tuesday, aided by continued optimism that the reopening of economies will stoke consumption and also boosted by a weaker U.S. dollar.

Buyers using other currencies pay less for dollar-denominated oil when the greenback weakens.

On the supply side, investors await inventories data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.

U.S. crude futures traded 1.2% higher at $64.24 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 1.3% to $67.93 after gaining 4.6% Wednesday. Both contracts are up more than 30% in 2021.

Elsewhere, gold futures traded flat at $1,770.55/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.2058.


European Stock Futures Largely Flat; Corporate Earnings Seen Key

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