European Stock Futures Lower; Consolidating After Strong Gains

European Stock Futures Lower; Consolidating After Strong Gains

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets are seen opening lower Wednesday, consolidating after recent strong gains, although hopes for more U.S. fiscal stimulus as well as Covid-19 vaccine expectations continue to provide support.

There will be a particular focus on the U.K. market, after British regulators said they had approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use and would begin distribution next week.

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

The major averages posted strong gains Tuesday, the first day of December, with the FTSE 100 closing up 1.9%, the CAC 40 up 1.1% and the DAX gaining 0.7%, continuing the previous month’s sharp move higher.

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion stimulus plan on Tuesday. Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly killed the proposal, the fact a new plan is back on the table has investors hopeful for a new package in the near future.

In Europe, both Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) have sought emergency approval of their vaccine candidates from the European regulator, suggesting these vaccines could be launched in the European Union as early as this month.

German retail sales rebounded in October, climbing 2.6% on the month, although this figure won’t take in the recent restrictions to try and curb the second surge of the Covid-19 virus.

Additionally, negotiators from both the European Union and Britain are rushing to strike a post-Brexit trade deal before the end of the week, with fishing rights seen as the main obstacle remaining.

Oil prices fell Wednesday, weighed by a surprise increase in crude inventories in the U.S. as well as uncertainty over whether a group of leading producers will maintain current supply levels going into the new year.

Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday showed U.S. crude inventories rose by 4.1 million barrels last week, compared with expectations for a draw of 2.3 million barrels. Official data are due later in Wednesday’s session.

This release emerged after OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, had postponed to Thursday a decision over the level of next year’s supply, raising concerns that pressure is growing within the group to raise output despite the current weak overall demand.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.7% lower at $44.25 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.5% to $47.19.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,814.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.2074.

Original Article

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