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European Stock Futures Higher; Ryanair Returns to Profit

European stock markets are expected to open marginally higher Monday, with investors buoyed by generally positive corporate earnings but wary at the start of a week that includes a Federal Reserve meeting that is expected to signal the start of QE tapering.

At 2:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.

These small gains in Europe come after more of a mixed session in Asia, with mixed Chinese PMI data weighing on the positive tone but a decisive victory for Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party in a general election raising hopes for stability and more stimulus ahead.

Attention on Monday will also focus on the COP26 conference in Glasgow, a U.N. conference aimed at limiting the effects of climate change, a day after the G20 big economies failed to agree on a deadline for halting net carbon emissions.

However, most eyes this week will be on the two-day policy meeting of the Federal Reserve, concluding on Wednesday, which is widely expected to result in the start of the tapering of its bond purchases. The gathering could also provide clues about when the central bank will increase interest rates, a move that could have a dramatic impact on global equity markets.

Both the Bank of England and the Reserve Bank of Australia also hold policy-setting meetings, and both these central banks are also expected to tighten their accommodative monetary policies.

Back in Europe, low-cost airline Ryanair (LON:RYA) reported its first quarterly profit since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but still warned that it would still make a hefty full-year loss.

U.K. bank Barclays (LON:BARC) will also be in the spotlight after the announcement that CEO Jes Staley is to step down after investigations into his links with disgraced financier and convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein.

In economic news, German retail sales slumped 2.5% on the month in September, down 0.9% on the year, as the resurgence of Covid cases weighed on consumer sentiment.

Crude prices weakened Monday after China, the world’s second largest consumer, announced it had released gasoline and diesel from its fuel reserves, easing concerns about the tight nature of the global supply.

This week also sees the latest meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies including Russia, a group called OPEC+. These top producers are expected to stick to their plan to add 400,000 barrels per day of supply in December when they get together on Thursday.

By 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.7% lower at $83.00 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.4% to $83.35.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,784.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.1553.

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