European Stocks Edge Higher; Italian Stocks Soar After Election

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets stabilized Monday after recent losses, but concerns remain over a deteriorating economic outlook and raised political uncertainty.

By 04:05 ET (08:05 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.1% and U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.2%.

European equities have been under pressure, with the DAX down over 22% year to date, as investors fretted over the toxic combination of high inflation, aggressive monetary tightening, a brewing energy crisis and the economic consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Dismal business activity data from the Eurozone and the U.K. last week heightened fears of a regional recession, and investors will look to the release of the German Ifo business climate index for September later in the session for further clues of corporate sentiment in the Eurozone’s largest economy.

Investors are also digesting the victory of a right-wing bloc led by Giorgia Meloni in Italy's parliamentary elections on Sunday.

Meloni, who is set to become Italy’s first female leader, has played down her party's post-fascist roots, and the country’s benchmark FTSE MIB equity index has climbed 1.5% with domestic investors welcoming the result given its broadly pro-business agenda.

Elsewhere, global tension is mounting over the war in Ukraine, as Russia holds widely-criticized votes aimed at annexing territory it has taken by force.

The GBP/USD fell to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar as traders doubted the sustainability of the new U.K. government's economic plan, in the wake of new U.K. finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng unveiling the country’s biggest package of tax cuts in 50 years.

In corporate news, Unilever (LON:ULVR) stock rose 2% after the consumer goods giant announced that Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope will retire at the end of next year.

Iberdrola (BME:IBE) stock fell 1.3% after the Spanish press reported that the power company has hired Barclays (LON:BARC) to sell up to 49% in a portfolio of Spanish renewable power projects.

Oil prices weakened Monday, falling to levels not seen since early January, weighed by the surging U.S. dollar and on concerns that slowing global economic activity will dent demand for crude.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, climbed to a fresh 20-year high on Monday, making all commodities, including oil, which are denominated in dollars more expensive for foreign buyers.

By 04:05 ET (08:05 GMT), U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $78.28 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.7% to $84.40. Both contracts slumped around 5% on Friday, falling to eight-month lows.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,653.35/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 0.9685.

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