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European stocks mixed; German retail sales help sentiment - European stock markets traded in a mixed fashion Thursday, helped by strong German retail sales ahead of the release of key eurozone inflation data for November. At 03:15 ET (08:15 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.2% higher, the CAC 40 in France traded up 0.2%, while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. fell 0.2%. European stocks have had a good November, with the German DAX over 9% higher, as easing inflation has boosted talk that the European Central Bank is done with aggressive rate hikes. Eurozone inflation in focus This sentiment was boosted Thursday by the news that German retail sales rose more than expected in October, increasing by 1.1% compared with the previous month, offering hope that the eurozone’s largest economy may be recovering as the year draws to an end. Germany has been among the weakest economies in Europe this year, and its economy shrank slightly in the third quarter compared with the previous three months. However, the day’s key economic release will be the preliminary eurozone consumer price index, with investors looking for further signs that regional inflation is retreating. German inflation eased to 2.3% in November, significantly more than the 2.6% expected, and this is expected to drive another reduction in the monthly eurozone figure. Chinese manufacturing activity contracts further The economic news out of China earlier Thursday was less encouraging, as manufacturing activity in the world’s second largest economy declined further in November. The official Chinese manufacturing purchasing managers index came in at 49.4 in November, down from 49.5 the prior month. A reading below 50 indicates contraction, with China’s manufacturing PMI now having contracted for six out of the 11 months so far in 2023. Demand for services remained a bright spot for Chinese businesses, with the non-manufacturing PMI growing 50.2 in November, but this was still below expectations of 51.1 and declined from the prior month’s reading of 50.6. Remy Cointreau sticks to full-year targets In corporate news, Remy Cointreau (EPA:RCOP) stock rose 1.4% after the French spirits group stuck to its full-year forecast despite a first-half decline, saying the key U.S. market would not see a sales rebound soon. ABB (ST:ABB) stock rose 0.6% after the Swiss engineering group unveiled higher sales and profitability targets, becoming the latest European industrial company to unveil more ambitious goals. Indra (BME:IDR) stock rose 0.3% after the Spanish stock market regulator confirmed JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) has bought a 10.6% stake in the defence systems maker Indra. Crude edged higher as OPEC+ meeting looms Oil prices rose Thursday amid optimism that OPEC+ will cut future production levels, overshadowing weaker-than-expected Chinese activity data as well as a sustained rise in U.S. inventories. By 03:15 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 1.1% higher at $78.74 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 1% to $83.72 a barrel. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a group known as OPEC+, meets later Thursday, and the market is still expecting news of additional production cuts even though the gathering was delayed from Sunday after disagreements between members over output targets. Still, gains have been limited by signs of slackening growth in China, the world’s top oil importer, while U.S. crude inventories recorded an unexpected 1.6 million barrel build in the week to Nov. 24. Additionally, gold futures fell 0.1% to $2,045.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.0951.

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