European stocks edge higher; Ryanair reports rise in profits - European stock markets rose Monday, starting the new week on a positive note amid growing hopes of monetary policy easing globally in the near future.

At 03:10 ET (07:10 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.2% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.1%, while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. climbed 0.2%.

European PMIs due this week 

The main European indices have started with small gains Monday, trading near record levels, at the start of a week that includes the release of the latest regional economic activity data.

A slow euro area recovery appears to be underway after six straight quarters of stagnant or negative growth, and so the region’s PMI data should stay on the right side of the line between expansion and contraction.

That said, the European Central Bank is widely expected to cut interest rates in June, as officials look to ease monetary policy to aid the region’s recovery.

Across the pond, the Federal Reserve is due to publish the minutes of its April 30-May 1 meeting this week, when Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated that rates are likely to remain higher for longer amid lingering inflation pressures.

Additionally, several Fed officials are also due to speak during the week, including Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, Governors Michael Barr, Christopher Waller and Philip Jefferson, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, New York Fed President John Williams and Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin.

In Asia, Beijing rolled out a string of supportive measures for the economy- specifically the property market last week, as it moved to shore up a sluggish economic recovery.

China also kept its benchmark loan prime rate at record lows on Monday. 

Ryanair reports hefty rise in FY profits

In the corporate sector, the earnings season is gradually drawing to an end, but there are a few late reporters, including Ryanair (IR:RYA).

The budget airline’s stock fell 0.9% despite reporting a hefty 34% rise in full-year profits, despite seeing a sharp rise in fuel costs, after raising its fares by more than a fifth.

Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers said it could carry up to 200 million people this year if the planes it has ordered from Boeing (NYSE:BA) arrive on schedule.

That said, Ryanair said it was only "cautiously optimistic" that fares in the peak of the summer would be "flat to modestly ahead" of last year, and it decided against giving profit forecasts for the current year, saying that was "heavily dependent" upon avoiding adverse events such as the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, extensive air traffic control disruptions or further Boeing delivery delays.

Crude higher amid Iranian uncertainty

Crude prices edged higher Monday, adding to the previous week’s gains, amid uncertainty of the fate of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after a reported helicopter crash.

By 03:10 ET, the U.S. crude futures (WTI) traded 0.3% higher at $79.81 per barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.4% to $84.31 per barrel.

Iranian state media said bad weather caused the crash on Sunday and was complicating rescue efforts. 

The uncertainty over Raisi’s fate comes amid simmering tensions in the oil-rich Middle East, with Israel and the militant group Hamas at war in Gaza while Israel and Iran have launched strikes against each other earlier this year.

Brent had ended the previous week up about 1%, its first weekly gain in three weeks, while WTI rose 2% on improved economic indicators from the U.S. and China, the world's largest oil consumers.

Additionally, gold futures rose 1.2% to $2,445.50/oz, while EUR/USD edged higher to 1.0872.


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