European mixed equity futures; ECB maintains dovish stance

By Peter Nurse – European stock markets open mixed on Friday as investors try to digest competing influences from the European Central Bank by keeping its super easy monetary policies and losses on Wall Street overnight.

At 3:05 am ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, while the CAC 40 futures contract in France fell 0.1% and the contract at UK FTSE 100 term fell 0.4%.

the European Central Bank decided at its meeting on Thursday to leave its € 1.85 trillion ($ 2.23 trillion) bond buying program in place, confirming that purchases will proceed at a high pace over the course of the current quarter.

While expected, President Christine Lagarde also assured the market that the rollbacks of this emergency program were not under discussion despite her prediction of a strong rebound in the eurozone economy from the middle. of the year.

It comes as the region begins to bring the latest wave of Covid-19 infections under control as it ramps up its vaccination program. France, for example, is expected to reopen its schools on Monday and lift domestic movement restrictions, which began earlier this month on May 3.

Evidence of improving economic conditions for Europe as a whole came from the UK publication retail Friday, with the March figure up 5.4% over the month, up 7.2% over the year, well ahead of expectations.

That said, the Wall Street move was negative as US stocks suffered their biggest drop in five weeks on reports that President Joe Biden is about to propose to nearly double the capital gains tax. For the rich, prompting speculation that they might sell stocks before any changes. made to lock in a lower rate.

Back in Europe, the earnings season continues, with German automaker Daimler (OTC: DDAIF) in the spotlight after raising its earnings outlook for 2021, but warned that the global semiconductor chip shortage could continue to affect sales in the second quarter.

Elsewhere, sales of Swiss cement maker LafargeHolcim (SIX: LHN) in the first quarter increased amid stronger sales in its markets, while French industrial gas supplier Air Liquide (OTC: AIQUY) confirmed its outlook for this quarter. year despite a slight drop in turnover in the first quarter. .

Swedish hygiene products group Essity (ST: ESSITYb) reported a slightly larger-than-expected drop in operating profit in the first quarter, but said it expected Covid vaccine programs -19 are driving demand for many of its product categories.

Oil prices edged up on Friday, boosted by improving economic conditions in Europe and the United States, but concerns over the second wave of Covid-19 cases in India limited gains.

U.S. crude futures rose 0.6% to $ 61.83 a barrel, while Brent’s contract rose 0.5% to $ 65.72.

Both contracts are still heading for losses of just under 2% this week amid concerns over weakening fuel demand in India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, as the country sets daily records. infections and deaths from the Covid-19 virus.

India recorded nearly 315,000 new cases on Thursday, prompting a number of countries, including Australia, Britain and Canada, to limit the number of flights from the region.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.2% to $ 1,786.25 / oz, while EUR / USD traded 0.1% to $ 1.2026.

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