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European Stocks Edge Lower; Earnings Season Set to Start

Stock MarketsApr 12, 2021 03:41AM ET
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© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse 

Investing.com - European stock markets edged lower Monday, searching for direction after record highs ahead of the start of the U.S. earnings season as well as a deluge of important economic data.

At 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% lower, the CAC 40 in France fell 0.1%, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.6% and the broad-based STOXX 600 fell 0.3%

The DAX and STOXX 600 have both hit all-time highs in recent weeks as the global economic recovery from Covid-19 continues to pick up the pace. The CAC 40 meanwhile is at a 20-year high.

The U.S. economy, the world’s largest, is at an “inflection point”, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in an interview on Sunday, with stronger growth and hiring ahead thanks to the vaccine rollout and powerful policy support. However, a resurgence of the virus is still a serious risk, Powell added. U.S. coronavirus cases bottomed nearly a month ago and have edged up steadily since then.

Overnight, India reported a record number of Covid-19 infections, overtaking Brazil to become the second-most affected country globally by the coronavirus. The news in Europe was more promising as beer gardens, restaurants with outdoor eating and the likes of hair salons are set to reopen across England on Monday for the first time in almost four months.

Wall Street kicks off its first-quarter earnings season this week, with the banking giants Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) scheduled to report on Wednesday.

Investors will be looking to see if the companies can justify their sky-high valuations. Data from Refinitiv points to S&P 500 firms recording a 25% jump in profit from a year earlier, which would be the strongest performance for the quarter since 2018.

Back in Europe, Suez (PA:SEVI) stock soared 7.4% and Veolia Environnement (OTC:VEOEY) stock rose 6.3% after the French rivals announced they had agreed a deal in principle to merge, with Veolia raising its offer by some 14% from the original level.

Sticking with M&A, Italian diagnostics group DiaSorin (MI:DIAS) stock jumped 7.1% after it said it will acquire U.S. based Luminex (NASDAQ:LMNX) for $1.8 billion in an all-cash deal that will strengthen the Italian company's position in the U.S. market considerably.

On the data front, eurozone retail sales figures for February are due later Monday, at the start of a busy week which includes the German ZEW economic sentiment indicator and U.K. first-quarter GDP.  

U.S. March inflation and retail sales are also both seen surging, while a slew of Chinese data throughout the week culminates in its GDP number on Friday.  

Oil prices drifted lower Monday, with talks between Iran and world powers on resuscitating a 2015 nuclear accord set to continue this week. These discussions could result in the member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel being allowed once more to supply crude to the global market.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% lower at $58.80 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.8% to $62.48. Both contracts are down over 9% over the last month.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,739.20/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1874.

 

European Stocks Edge Lower; Earnings Season Set to Start
 

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