European Stocks Mixed; Investors Eye Earnings, Central Bank Moves

This post was originally published on this site – European stock markets traded mixed early Friday, with investors studying corporate earnings and the week’s central bank policy decisions ahead of the release of key U.S. employment data.

At 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% lower, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.4% and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.4%, breaching the 7,000 points barrier for the first time ever.

The Bank of England surprised investors on Thursday by keeping its interest rate steady, the day after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated that it would be “patient” on interest rate hikes while beginning asset tapering.

Earlier in the week European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde pushed back against market bets for a rate hike, stating it was very unlikely such a move would occur in 2022.

Central bankers are proceeding cautiously with the normalization of monetary policy, allowing their economies as much time as possible to recover from the ravages of the pandemic.

Weighing on the German stock market was a surprise drop in the country’s industrial production of 1.1% in September, as supply bottlenecks for raw and preliminary materials continued to take a toll on output in Europe’s biggest economy. French production also fell the most since February, and Spanish output growth fell to its lowest in the same timeframe.

In corporate news, IAG (LON:ICAG) stock fell 3.4% after the parent company of British Airways said it was heading for a 3 billion euro ($3.5 billion) loss for 2021, illustrating the impact of the pandemic on international travel. Its prediction of a recovery next year didn’t help noticeably.

Amadeus (MC:AMA) stock fell 1.3% despite the Spanish travel booking group returning to profitability in the third quarter after more than a year of consecutive quarterly losses as flight bookings picked up.

Uniper (DE:UN01) stock rose 0.3%, reaching an all-time high, after the German energy company reported a 52% in nine-month adjusted profit, helped by volatile gas prices. 

Elsewhere, German retail investor darling Varta (DE:VAR1) fell 20% to its lowest in over a year after cutting its 2021 sales forecast due to supply chain problems at the battery maker’s customers.

Later in the session the focus will turn to the release of the U.S. official monthly jobs report, where variables such as earnings growth and labor force participation will arguably be as important as the headline job creation number. 

Economists expected payrolls to rise by 450,000 in October, a considerable improvement from the 194,000 rise in the prior month, which was the lowest in eight months.

Crude prices strengthened Friday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies confirmed a monthly increase of 400,000 barrels a day at a meeting on Thursday, rebuffing calls from the likes of U.S. President Joe Biden for a more substantial increase in output.

By 3:40 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.2% higher at $79.73 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.7% to $81.06.

Still, Brent is on track for a decline of nearly 4% this week, the second straight weekly drop. U.S. oil is heading for a decline this week of nearly 5%.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,799.65/oz, while EUR/USD edged higher to 1.1555.