By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – European stock markets are expected to open marginally higher Monday, with investors wary at the start of a week that includes the release of key U.S. inflation data and comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
At 2 AM ET (0700 GMT), the contract in Germany traded 0.3% higher, in France climbed 0.3% and the contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.
Global stock markets will be focusing squarely on the latest U.S. inflation data this week, with strong numbers potentially cementing an early rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
The data, on Wednesday, is expected to show headline CPI breaking above 7% year-on-year, approaching a four-decade high, while data the following day is also expected to show a surge higher.
Additionally, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to testify Tuesday before a Senate panel at his nomination hearing, and his comments will be parsed carefully for clues as to the central bank’s intentions.
The Fed is expected to lift interest rates well before its Euroxone counterpart, with influential investment bank Goldman Sachs now seeing the U.S. central bank raising interest rates four times this year. Even so, in the Eurozone hit 5.0% last week, a new record high, raising the pressure on the European Central Bank to tighten its own monetary policy.
This is occurring against a backdrop of a rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus over the holiday period, with the healthcare systems in many European countries stretched almost to the limit.
In corporate news, the banking sector is likely to be in focus this week, with fourth quarter results from several large U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:), Citigroup (NYSE:) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:), starting the earnings season on Friday.
Oil prices stabilized Monday after the sharp gains of the previous week, as operator Chevron said Sunday that Kazakhstan’s largest oil venture, Tengizchevroil, is gradually returning to normal production levels after recent protests limited output.
Libya’s oil production is also recovering after a major crude pipeline was fixed, the country’s energy minister said Monday.
Supply outages in places like Kazakhstan and Libya have thrown the spotlight on global supply, superseding concerns that the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant might hurt demand.
By 2 AM ET, futures traded 0.2% higher at $79.08 a barrel, while the contract rose 0.2% to $81.95. Both contracts posted gains of around 5% in the first week of the year.
Additionally, fell 0.3% to $1,791.85/oz, while traded 0.2% lower at 1.1333.
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