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European Stock Futures Mainly Lower; Vivendi in the Spotlight

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By Peter Nurse

Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to weaken Thursday, following Asia lower amid slowing growth and increasing regulatory concerns.

At 2:10 AM ET (0610 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% lower, the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.3%, but CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.3%.

European markets have received a weak handover from Asia Thursday, with the Hong Kong benchmark index, the Hang Seng, falling nearly 2%. Casino shares extended the previous day’s rout as the Chinese government sought to tighten its grip on Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub.

Additionally, troubled Chinese real estate giant Evergrande stock slumped around 10% after its main unit applied to suspend trading of its onshore corporate bonds, raising fresh worries of default risks.

Economic data from China released Wednesday pointed to the world’s second largest economy suffering from slowing growth in August thanks to Covid-19 outbreaks and supply disruptions.

Back in Europe, consolidation in the media sector looks likely after Vivendi (OTC:VIVHY) announced late Wednesday that it was set to purchase another stake in Lagardere (PA:LAGA), paving the way for a full takeover.

The digital entertainment giant, which already has 27% of Lagardere, said it had agreed to buy Amber Capital's 17.9% holding, and would later launch a full bid, once it has passed the 30% threshold requiring companies in France to make a takeover offer.

Also, earnings are expected from the likes of John Lewis (LON:JLH), Kier Group (LON:KIE) and Superdry (LON:SDRY).

Economic data are thin on the ground in Europe Thursday, and a lot of the attention will be on the release of U.S. August retail sales and weekly initial jobless claims for clues of the health of the important U.S. economy.

Crude prices edged higher Thursday, extending recent strong gains after a sharp drawdown in crude stocks in the United States, the largest oil consumer in the world.

Crude inventories fell by 6.4 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration late Wednesday, as refiners in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico struggled to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Ida.

By 2:10 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $72.62 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.1% to $75.52. Both contracts gained around 3% on Wednesday, and are up nearly 50% year-to-date.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,786.10/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.1805.

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