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European stocks rise on generally upbeat earnings; PMI data due

Published 01/24/2024, 02:54 AM
Updated 01/24/2024, 03:08 AM
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Investing.com - European stock markets rose Wednesday, as investors digested a deluge of corporate earnings ahead of the release of the latest regional business activity data.

At 03:05 ET (08:05 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.9% higher, the CAC 40 in France traded up 0.3% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. rose 0.6%.

Eurozone PMI data eyed

European equities have started the day with a positive slant but investors are eyeing manufacturing PMI data from the eurozone that will paint a clearer picture of the economy ahead of the region's central bank meeting on Thursday.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to keep rates steady this month, especially after eurozone CPI climbed to 2.9% in December from 2.4% the prior month, but the weak nature of growth in the region has investors expecting the central bank to start cutting interest rates in the summer.

The PMI data is likely to confirm that the important manufacturing sector remains in contraction territory in January.

Germany's Ifo institute downgraded its 2024 economic growth forecast on Wednesday, and now expects Europe's largest economy to grow by 0.7% this year instead of 0.9% previously forecast in mid-December.

ASML reports record quarterly orders

Meanwhile, the earnings season has well and truly begun, with the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML (AS:ASML) taking a starring role, reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat expectations and its best-ever quarterly orders, prompting its shares to rise over 6%.

However, the Dutch company kept a cautious outlook for 2024 as it faces new restrictions on exports to China.

Barry Callebaut (SIX:BARN), the world’s biggest chocolate maker, said on Wednesday that its sales volumes rose slightly in the three months to the end of November despite the challenging market environment of record-high cocoa prices.

Budget airline easyJet (LON:EZJ) said it had taken a £40M hit from the Middle-East conflict, but said it expected first-half losses to narrow and reported positive booking momentum for the summer. Its stock rose over 4%.

Alstom (EPA:ALSO) stock fell 0.5% after the French train maker reported higher third-quarter sales on Wednesday, but said it was still studying the possibility of a capital increase as it reaffirmed its annual targets.

Crude steadies amid mixed signals

Oil prices steadied Wednesday, as traders digested mixed signals on global supply and demand while escalating geopolitical tensions provided support.

By 03:05 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% higher at $74.73 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.5% to $79.92 a barrel.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute, released late Tuesday, showed that U.S. crude inventories shrank by 6.7 million barrels in the week to January 19, as severe cold weather across swathes of the country disrupted production.

But the API data also showed a sustained increase in gasoline inventories and a small draw in distillate stockpiles, indicating that demand in the world’s largest fuel consumer remained weak as cold weather disrupted travel in the country.

The official inventory data, from the Energy Information Administration, is due later in the session.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $2,030.55/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.0874.

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