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European stocks edge higher; trading thin ahead of holiday break

Published 12/23/2022, 05:10 PM
Updated 12/23/2022, 05:10 PM
© Reuters.

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets edged higher Friday in thin holiday-affected volumes, with investors digesting the release of more regional growth and inflation data.

At 04:05 ET (09:05 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.1% higher, the FTSE 100 in the U.K. climbed 0.1%, and CAC 40 in France traded largely flat.

Economic data released this week has helped the European markets approach the close of the year with a degree of optimism that the recession expected for the region in 2023 may not be as bad as first feared.

That said, factory gate prices out of France, the Eurozone’s second-largest economy, rose a hefty 1.2% in November, ahead of the drop of 0.2% expected, indicating the difficulties the European Central Bank will have controlling inflation in the region.

The Spanish economy only grew 0.1% in the third quarter, below the 0.2% expected, but the country’s GDP grew 2.0% the previous quarter, having been revised higher.

Trading is likely to be light Friday, the last working day before the Christmas holiday, with the U.K. stock market closing early.

That said, the bulk of attention will be on the U.S. economic data calendar, with personal consumption expenditures data, the Federal Reserve’s favorite inflation gauge due later on Friday, which will provide more clues on the direction of prices as 2023 draws near.

In corporate news, Stellantis (BIT:STLA) stock rose 1.4% after the world’s third-largest carmaker announced it has entered exclusive talks with France's Faurecia (EPA:EPED) and Michelin (EPA:MICP) to buy a "substantial" stake in their Symbio joint venture, a fuel cell system maker.

Inditex (BME:ITX) stock rose 0.2% after planned strikes at the fashion retailer’s Zara shops in the company's hometown in northern Spain were called off following an agreement on a pay rise.

Oil prices rose Friday on expectations that Russian supply will be reduced in the new year, while traders digest the impact of the winter storm hitting the U.S.

Russia will halt sales of its oil to the countries which support the price caps introduced by the G7 countries earlier this month, which may cut oil output by 5%-7% in early 2023, the RIA news agency cited Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Friday.

This would tighten global supply even further, likely boosting prices as demand increases, particularly from China as it recovers from its latest COVID outbreak.

Meanwhile, a winter storm is hitting large parts of the U.S., triggering warnings from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. This has resulted in thousands of flights being canceled, but also an increase in demand for energy to heat homes and offices.

By 03:50 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.4% higher at $78.56 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 2% to $82.58.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,804.55/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0601.

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