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European Shares Set For Lackluster Start Ahead Of ECB Meeting

stockmarkets aug16 28oct21 lt

European stocks are seen opening on a flat note Thursday as investors await the European Central Bank policy meeting for guidance on its pandemic bond-buying program.

The central bank is expected to keep policy unchanged and push back against expectations for a rate hike next year.

Markets also await the U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting on Nov. 3 for clues as to the pace of tapering and the timing of the first Fed rate hike.

Earlier in the day, the Bank of Japan retained its easy monetary policy settings and revised down its annual growth forecast as the pandemic continues to weigh on the world's third-largest economy.

Asian markets fell as flaring cases of coronavirus in China and Singapore added to general unease over the economic outlook.

Meanwhile, China has again opposed the representation of Taiwan at the international stage after the U.S. called for a more "meaningful" participation of the island in United Nations bodies.

Gold traded up above the key $1,800 level, boosted by a fall in U.S. bond yields.

Coal futures in China extended a plunge as Beijing beefed up measures to cool surging coal prices.

Oil prices fell nearly 2 percent in Asian trade to extend overnight losses after official data showed a surprise jump in U.S. inventories of crude. Bitcoin retreated below $60,000, after having reached almost $67,000 reached last week.

Germany's unemployment data is due from the Federal Labor Agency later in the day.
Economists expect the jobless rate to fall to 5.4 percent in October from 5.5 percent in September.

The European Commission is scheduled to issue euro area economic sentiment survey results. Economists expect the economic confidence index to fall to 116.9 in October from 117.8 in the previous month.

Destatis releases Germany's flash consumer price data for October. Inflation is forecast to rise to 4.4 percent from 4.1 percent in September.

Across the Atlantic, a preliminary reading on third quarter GDP may attract attention along with reports on weekly jobless claims and pending home sales.

U.S. stocks ended mostly lower overnight as investors digested earnings results from mega-cap tech companies and weak durable goods orders data.

The Dow gave up 0.7 percent and the S&P 500 declined half a percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended flat with a positive bias.

European stocks closed lower on Wednesday as concerns over China hit metal prices and Germany downgraded its growth outlook. Investors also mulled the implications of the latest U.K. Budget.

The pan European Stoxx 600 eased 0.4 percent. The German DAX and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both fell around 0.3 percent while France's CAC 40 index dipped 0.2 percent.

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