European Stock Futures Edge Higher; Fed Meeting Set to Start

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are expected to open marginally higher Tuesday, following the global trend upwards, although sentiment remains fragile ahead of the start of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.4% higher, CAC 40 futures in France traded up 0.1%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.3%.

The major U.S. benchmark averages lifted from 9-week lows to finish higher Monday. This positive tone has continued in Asian trading, and is expected to boost European stocks as investors attempt to stage a recovery from last week’s selloff.

However, investors are likely to remain cautious ahead of the start of the Fed’s latest meeting, which is widely expected to result in another 75 basis point interest rate hike following last week’s higher than expected consumer inflation figures.

The Fed won’t be alone in raising rates this week, with the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank and the Norges Bank in Norway all expected to follow suit in Europe.

The Bank of Japan is also set to decide on monetary policy this week, but this central bank is not expected to raise lending rates from negative levels.

Back in Europe, it’s a quiet day for economic data, although German producer prices rose a hefty 7.9% on the month in August, an annual increase of an incredible 45.8%.

In corporate news, Kingfisher (LON:KGF) and Tui (ETR:TUIGn) are scheduled to release their latest quarterly earnings Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Unicredit (BIT:CRDI) is likely to be in the spotlight after the CEO of Italy’s second-biggest bank, Andrea Orcel, told the German daily Handelsblatt that the lender was looking at acquisitions in Germany as part of plans to become a fully developed European bank.

Oil prices steadied Tuesday ahead of the start of the Fed's two-day meeting that is expected to result in further monetary tightening to combat inflation, potentially stunting economic growth and the demand for crude.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry body, releases its latest estimate for U.S. crude stocks later in the session, with last week’s figure showing a hefty 6 million barrel addition.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% lower at $85.31 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.1% to $92.07.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,678.95/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0019.

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