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European stock futures lower; U.K. inflation falls slower than expected


Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open lower Wednesday as investors bemoan the lack of a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling ahead of the release of key economic data.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.7% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.6% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.6%.

U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held “productive” talks on Monday over raising the U.S. government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, but there was little sign of progress yesterday.

There is now just over a week before a possible first-ever U.S. government default with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warning that it’s now “highly likely” that the U.S. government will run out of sufficient cash as soon as June 1.

Back in Europe, Germany’s Ifo survey of current business conditions, due later in the session, will be closely watched for clues of sentiment in the region’s largest economy.

Tuesday’s PMI data showed that German business activity expanded for a fourth month running in May, with the services sector revival more than offsetting a manufacturing decline.

U.K. inflation slowed in April, with the annual figure coming in at 8.7%, still above expectations, from 10.1% in March as the Bank of England’s prolonged hiking cycle began to have an impact.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey is set to speak later Wednesday, while ECB President Christine Lagarde is also scheduled to lead the celebrations of the central bank's 25th anniversary.

The main earnings scheduled for release come from the U.K., with insurer Aviva (LON:AV) and energy company SSE (LON:SSE) on the slate.

However, the highlight will be from Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS), with the retail giant likely to post a decline in full-year pretax profit as it cuts margins to keep its food prices competitive.

Oil prices rose Wednesday after industry data registered a sharp drop in U.S. inventories, pointing to tighter supplies as the U.S. driving season draws nearer.

Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that crude stocks fell by about 6.8 million barrels in the week ended May 19, while gasoline inventories dropped by about 6.4 million.

If confirmed by official data later in the session, gasoline stocks would have declined for the third consecutive week to their lowest pre-Memorial Day levels since 2014.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.3% higher at $73.82 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 1% to $77.64.

Both benchmarks gained on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia's energy minister warned short sellers to "watch out", raising the possibility that a group of top producers will cut production once more when they meet in early June.

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