European stock markets are seen opening mixed Wednesday, stabilizing after the week’s volatile start with earnings season continuing in strong style
Stock indices in Europe closed higher Tuesday, with the DAX up 0.6%, the CAC 40 up 0.8% and the FTSE 100 0.5% higher, rebounding after Monday’s sharp losses after fears the recent surge of Covid-19 cases will derail the global economic recovery.
The story was similar on Wall Street, with the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining around 550 points on Tuesday as investors reassessed Monday’s slump of more than than 700 points.
While the uncertainty caused by the increase of global coronavirus injections, caused mainly by the highly-transmissible delta variant, remains, investors are also turning their eyes towards the quarterly earnings season.
Julius Baer (SIX:BAER) is likely to be in the spotlight Wednesday after the Zurich-based wealth manager posted a 23% rise in half-year net profit to 606 million Swiss francs ($658 million), while drugmaker Novartis (SIX:NOVN) beat expectations for its second-quarter profit while keeping its 2021 guidance.
There were also upward revisions to guidance from SAP (DE:SAPG), Europe's largest software company, and U.K. retailer Next (LON:NXT), the latter saying that sales through June had been "materially ahead" of expectations. Paints maker Akzo Nobel (AS:AKZO) also beat forecasts but warned of enduring issues with raw material costs and availability.
On the flip side, German auto maker Daimler (OTC:DDAIF) said that the global semiconductor chip shortage will continue to affect its business in the second half of 2020 and that its third-quarter car sales will be the same or below the second quarter.
Additionally, the European Central Bank starts a two-day meeting on Wednesday, after raising its inflation goal to 2% earlier this month. President Christine Lagarde hinted at a change to the bank's guidance last week, reflecting the slightly higher tolerance for inflation in the new strategy.
Elsewhere, oil prices continued to weaken Wednesday following a surprise increase in U.S. crude stockpiles last week, at a time when rising Covid-19 infections threaten the demand outlook.
U.S. crude stocks increased by 0.81 million barrels for the week ended July 15, the American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday, which would be the first build since May, if confirmed by the Energy Information Administration later Wednesday.
Crude prices have sold off sharply in recent days, after climbing to their highest levels since 2014 earlier this month, as Covid-19 cases spread into the U.S. and Europe from Asia.
At 2:10 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% lower at $66.86 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.5% to $69.01. Both contracts are around 8% lower this week to date.