European Stock Futures Largely Higher; Earnings Data Helps

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European Stock Futures Largely Higher; Earnings Data Helps

European stock markets are seen opening largely higher Thursday, helped by a generally positive start to the earnings season on Wall Street. At 3:

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European stock markets are seen opening largely higher Thursday, helped by a generally positive start to the earnings season on Wall Street.

At 3:05 AM ET (0705 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.2% higher, the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%, while CAC 40 futures in France dropped 1%.

The first-quarter U.S. earnings season started in earnest on Wednesday, with the banking sector, often seen as a proxy for the health of the wider economy, to the fore.

Influential investment bank Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) posted record first-quarter net profits as it capitalized on record levels of global dealmaking activity, while Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), the fourth-largest lender in the U.S., recorded bumper profits as it reduced bad loan provisions and got a grip on costs tied to its sales practices scandal.

JPMorgan Chase’s (NYSE:JPM) first quarter also beat expectations, although its bottom line was inflated by the one-off release of $5.2 billion in reserves.

Global shares have surged in recent weeks led by expectations that successful rollouts of Covid-19 vaccines around the world and hefty stimulus packages, especially in the U.S., will unleash pent up demand, benefiting the corporate sector.

Back in Europe, Publicis (PA:PUBP) is likely to be in the spotlight Thursday after the world’s third-largest advertising group returned to organic growth for the first time since the start of the pandemic, fueled by high demand for digital advertising in the United States.

ABB (SIX:ABBN) is also set to be in focus after the Swiss engineering firm lifted its revenue guidance for 2021 after an upbeat first quarter.

On the economic data slate, German consumer prices rose 0.5% on the month in March, rising by less than the 0.7% level seen the previous month.

In the U.S., investors will study the latest weekly report on the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance, while March retail sales data are expected to show a strong uptick in consumer spending.

Oil prices drifted Thursday, consolidating near one-month highs after Wednesday’s strong gains as U.S. stockpiles data added to signs the demand outlook is improving.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration Wednesday, more than double the drop expected, while gasoline supplied to the market last week, an indicator of U.S. consumption of the fuel, increased to 8.9 million barrels per day, the highest since August.

Both the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency upgraded their forecasts for world oil demand growth this year earlier this week.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% lower at $63.10 a barrel after climbing 4.9% during the previous session, while the Brent contract rose 0.1% to $66.62 after gaining 4.6% Wednesday.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,742.70/oz, while EUR/USD traded largely flat at 1.1979.

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