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European stock futures edge lower; UBS reports hefty 1Q profit drop

Published 04/25/2023, 02:14 PM
© Reuters.
- - European stock markets are expected to open with small losses Tuesday, with investors cautious ahead of the start of big tech earnings season on Wall Street.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.2% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.3%.

Earnings from U.S. tech giants Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) top the watchlist on Tuesday, ahead of numbers from Facebook-owner Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) later this week.

Just five tech stocks have accounted for two-thirds of the S&P 500's gains this year, so their numbers could well determine how the market comes out of the quarterly earnings season.

Investors will be looking for news on cost cutting and job shedding across the industry, as well as their efforts around artificial intelligence.

Back in Europe, it’s the banking sector to the fore.

UBS (SIX:UBSG) reported earlier Tuesday a 52% slide in profit for the first quarter due to a $665 million increase in legal provisions relating to U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities.

The Swiss banking giant is also having to try and incorporate Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) after it was forced to take it over earlier this month, with its former rival logging asset outflows of more than $68 billion during the first quarter. 

Santander (BME:SAN), the eurozone’s second-biggest lender in terms of market value, reported a 1% rise in its net profit in the first quarter compared to the same period of 2022 as higher lending income offset higher provisions and the impact from a banking levy in Spain.

Elsewhere, Novartis (SIX:NOVN) raised its full-year earnings outlook, with the Swiss drugmaker citing a strong growth momentum.

Nestle (SIX:NESN), the world’s largest packaged food company, reported slightly better-than-expected first-quarter sales, while engineering firm ABB (SIX:ABBN) raised its full-year outlook for sales and profit outlook.

The economic data calendar is quiet Tuesday, with only U.K. public sector net borrowing for March and Spanish PPI numbers scheduled for release.

However, Andrea Enria, the Chair of the European Central Bank's Supervisory Board, is due to speak later in the session, and investors will be listening for clues as to the future path of the central bank’s monetary policy.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to lift interest rates again in early May, a decision that the central bank’s chief economist, Philip Lane, seemed to confirm in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, published early Tuesday.

“The current data are indicating that we should raise rates again” next week, Lane said. “This is still not the right time to stop. Beyond that, I don’t have a crystal ball; it will depend on the economic data.”

Oil prices stabilized Tuesday, with traders weighing a potential recovery in Chinese demand as the second-biggest economy nears a crucial holiday period with the likelihood of more interest rate increases in the West, hitting economic growth.

Bookings in China for trips abroad during the upcoming May Day holiday point to a continued recovery, boosting fuel demand in the world's largest oil importer.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.2% lower at $78.61 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.2% to $82.38. 

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.3% to $2,005.85/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1050.

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