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European Stocks Mixed; Central Bankers Take Spotlight

·2 min read

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com - European stock markets are seen opening mixed Wednesday, with investors looking to the world’s central bankers for guidance as the coronavirus tightens its grip.

At 2:05 AM ET (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.1% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.3%.

The International Monetary Fund is due later Wednesday to publish its most detailed study of the pandemic’s impact on public finances. The central point is expected to be that it’s still too early for governments to worry about having to pay for rescue efforts and thus ease back on fiscal spending.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is set to speak later Wednesday at the virtual annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, and she is likely to press home that more is needed to combat this outbreak.

The latest news surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic is hardly optimistic, with countries across Europe widening restrictions to try to regain a grip on the pandemic.

Infections rose at the fastest pace since April in Germany, France reported a surge in patients needing intensive care and new cases in Italy jumped to the highest level since March.

At the same time, Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) placed its antibody test on hold due to potential safety concerns, just a day after Johnson&Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) paused its Covid-19 vaccine trial because of a participant’s unexplained illness.

In corporate news, ASML (AS:ASML), the semiconductor equipment maker, reported better-than=expected earnings for the third quarter earlier Wednesday, saying it also sees double-digit growth in 2021.

French cosmetics company L’Oreal (PA:OREP) is also likely to be in the spotlight after Le Figaro reported that it’s set to name deputy Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Hieronimus as its new chief, replacing long-time boss Jean-Paul Agon.

Oil prices edged lower Tuesday amid concerns of demand stagnating as rising coronavirus cases, particularly in Europe and the U.S., cause growth to slacken.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut its forecast for oil demand in 2021 by 80,000 barrels per day to 96.84 million barrels per day in its monthly report on Tuesday, citing damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The weekly report on crude inventories by the American Petroleum Institute is due later in the session, having been delayed by a day because of the Columbus day holiday on Monday in the United States.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $39.97 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.5% to $42.25.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,898.55/oz, while EUR/USD traded largely flat at 1.1743.

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