(Updated futures contracts for European indices, closing of Chinese markets, opening of the bond market in Europe)
- European indices are expected to be close to equilibrium
- Wall Street closes in positive territory after Powell
- Oil continues to rise due to fears of a crisis in Ukraine
- Slowdown in service sector activity in China
- Final European PMI and ECB minutes on the agenda
PARIS, March 3 (Reuters) – Major European stock markets are expected to see little change at the open on Thursday as investors digest the Federal Reserve Chairman’s latest comments on interest rates, keeping a close eye on the development of the conflict in Ukraine.
The first available signs point to a Paris CAC 40 .FCHI opening up 0.12%, Dax Frankfurt .GDAXI up 0.05% and London FTSE down 0.19%.
A week after the Russian offensive into Ukraine, Russian troops entered the city of Kherson on the Black Sea, as a second round of talks between the two sides in Belarus is due to take place.
Read also: Ukraine-Delegation goes to new negotiations with Russia
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, one million people have left Ukraine since the start of the offensive.
Read also: One million refugees left Ukraine – UNHCR
Rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s downgraded Russia’s sovereign rating by six notches, transferring them to the “junk” category.
On monetary policy, Jerome Powell told a House hearing on Wednesday that it would be appropriate for the US central bank to raise rates by a quarter point at its March 15-16 meeting, easing market fears of a 50 basis point hike.
The Fed chairman, however, added that the institution would be ready to act more decisively in the future if inflation does not fall as quickly as expected and the consequences of the crisis in Ukraine remain unpredictable.
Jerome Powell will speak again on Thursday, this time before the US Senate Banking Committee (1500 GMT).
Investors will know the final results of the European PMI polls for the month of February before the release of the “minutes” of the European Central Bank at 12:30 GMT.
Oil prices continue to rise as the Ukraine crisis raises supply concerns and U.S. strategic oil inventories fell last week to their lowest level in nearly 20 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).
A barrel of Brent oil LCOc1 rose 3.36% to $116.73 after hitting $118.22, the highest level since February 2013. US light oil CLc1 is worth $114.58 after touching $115, which has not happened since September 2008.
Aluminum prices hit a record high of $3,650 per tonne of CMAL3 as investors fear supply disruptions from the Black Sea region as Russian forces invade Ukraine.
ON WALL STREET
The New York Stock Exchange closed higher on Wednesday after Jerome Powell said the Dow Jones .DJI gained 1.79% to hit 33,891.35, the S&P-500 .SPX added 1.86% to 4,386.54 and The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC rose 1.62% to 33,891.35. 13,752.02 points.
Futures assume a virtually unchanged session on Thursday.
The Nikkei .N225 index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange added 0.7% following Wall Street.
In China, the CSI 300 .CSI300 index for large companies fell 0.59% after the Caixin-Markit Services PMI fell to 50.2 in February, a six-month low, from 51.4 in January.
The US10YT=RR 10-year Treasury yield was virtually flat at 1.8594% after a sharp rise the day before in a rebound, reinforced by Jerome Powell’s words in favor of a quarter-point rate hike next month.
Its German equivalent DE10YT=RR is stable at 0.0150% in early trading.
The dollar rose slightly against a basket of other currencies .DXY (+0.12%), while the euro fell to $1.11 EUR= after falling the day before to 1.1056, the lowest level since May 2020.
“In the current crisis, the status of the euro is vulnerable,” said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank. “Energy prices have risen, as have many agricultural products. Thus, a war in Ukraine portends higher inflation in the long run and the risk of slower economic growth.”
STOCK EXCHANGE – Shares in Paris and Europe (updated)
PRINCIPAUX INDICATEURS ÉCONOMIQUES À L'AGENDA DU 3 MARS PAYS GMT INDICATEUR PÉRIODE CONSENSUS PRÉCÉDENT FR 08h50 Indice PMI IHS Markit des février 57,9 57,9* services définitif DE 08h55 Indice PMI IHS Markit des février 56,6 56,6* services définitif EZ 09h00 Indice PMI IHS Markit des février 55,8 55,8* services définitif en zone euro GB 09h30 Indice PMI IHS Markit des février 60,8 60,8* services définitif USA 13h30 Inscriptions au chômage semaine au 225.000 232.000 26 février USA 15h00 Indice ISM des services février 61,0 59,9 * première estimation (édité par Blandine Hénault) ((Rédaction de Paris; +33 1 49 49 50 00;)) ((Les valeurs à suivre à la Bourse de Paris et en Europe WATCH/LFR ))