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European Stock Futures Lower; Caution Prevails as Week Starts

European stock markets are seen opening just lower Monday, with investors starting an event-packed week on a cautious note as they seek out fresh cues.

At 2:05 AM ET (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.2% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.1%.

The major indices in Europe ended last week with sharp gains, with the DAX in Germany climbing 1.7%, the CAC 40 in France gaining over 2% and the FTSE 100 up 1.3%, as strong advances on

Wall Street and policy easing in China helped calm some of the recent anxiety over global growth.

That said, there are plenty of reasons for investors to take a watchful stance this week.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said on Sunday that the central bank will update its guidance on monetary stimulus at its next meeting, and indicated that fresh policy might be introduced in 2022 to support the European economy to replace the current bond-buying program.

Last week the ECB changed its stance on inflation, potentially allowing CPI to climb higher than its 2% goal if the circumstance dictates.

Away from Europe, the U.S. is scheduled to release key inflation data for June later this week, while Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is set to testify in front of Congress on Wednesday and Thursday, potentially providing clues on the central bank’s thinking over tapering.

Additionally, China will release second-quarter GDP data on Thursday amid concerns they could disappoint given a sudden easing in monetary policy last week.

The number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in large parts of Asia, while the U.S. had the most cases since mid-May as the delta variant spreads in less vaccinated parts of the nation.

This week also sees the start of the quarterly earnings season on Wall Street, with the likes of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP) due to report on Tuesday.

Back in Europe, ASOS (LON:ASOS) is likely to be in the spotlight Monday after U.S. giant Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) announced that it has acquired a minority stake in four brands owned by the British online fashion house, including Topshop and Miss Selfridge, in a bid for younger shoppers.

Elsewhere, oil prices edged lower Monday amid uncertainty within the sector given the rising Covid-19 cases globally and the lack of agreement at the last meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies over production levels.

However, prices remain at elevated levels with U.S. officials reporting hefty drops in the nation’s crude inventories and soaring gasoline demand.

At 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.2% lower at $74.39 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.2% to $75.37.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,800.95/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.1868.

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