Commodity stocks support Europe shares ahead of Powell speech By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany August 26, 2021. REUTERS/Staff
(Reuters) -European stocks were flat on Friday ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s speech that could offer hints on the timeline for slowing of its bond purchases programme.
The pan-European index was up 0.02% in morning trading, with gains in mining and oil shares offsetting losses in travel & leisure stocks.
Crude prices rose as energy companies began shutting in production in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a potential hurricane forecast to hit on the weekend, while metal prices climbed on a weaker dollar. [O/R] [MET/L]
Investors were squarely focussed on Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole summit at 1400 GMT after fresh calls for early tapering from a few hawkish Fed policymakers unsettled investors on Thursday.
“Powell is likely to indicate that tapering of asset purchases could be appropriate by the end of this year if the economy continues to make progress,” Unicredit (MI:) analysts said.
“We now expect a formal announcement of tapering to come in November, with tapering to start in December, slightly earlier than we previously anticipated.”
European and U.S. stocks are trading near record levels, but worries about the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, slowing economic momentum and a gradual paring back of stimulus have all weighed on investor sentiment recently.
The benchmark STOXX 600 was on course for a 0.3% weekly gain.
A survey showed French consumer confidence eased marginally in August, while morale amongst Italian businesses and consumers also fell this month.
The Delta variant of the coronavirus is only expected to have a limited impact on the euro zone economy, which remains on course for robust growth this year and next, European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane said earlier this week.
Just Eat Takeaway.com, which owns GrubHub (NYSE:), fell 3.9% after the New York City Council approved legislation to license food-delivery apps and permanently cap commissions they can charge restaurants.
Norwegian fish farmer Salmar rose 3.1% after the company dropped plans to launch an 11.8 billion crowns ($1.29 billion) cash bid for rival Norway Royal Salmon (NRS). NRS shares fell 1.5%.
French auto parts maker Faurecia gained 2% after Citigroup (NYSE:) hiked the price target on the company’s stock to 56 euros from 41 euros.
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