European stock markets are expected to edge higher at the open Thursday, continuing the recovery from the sharp selloff at the start of the week ahead of the latest policy announcement by the European Central Bank.
At 2 AM ET (0600 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.4% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%.
This positive start follows on from gains in Asia as well as on Wall Street overnight, rebounding from Monday’s rout on fears the rising Covid cases caused by the highly-transmissible delta variant, starting in Asia and moving into Europe and the U.S., would derail the global economic recovery.
The main focus of investors Thursday will be on the European Central Bank’s policy-setting decision, due at 7:45 AM ET (1145 GMT), and the subsequent press conference from President Christine Lagarde.
The safe-harbour U.S. dollar and yen were on the back foot on Thursday, after pulling back from multi-month highs amid a recovery in risk appetite as strong earnings lifted Wall Street stocks.
Cryptocurrencies held gains after Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc CEO Elon Musk said the company would “most likely” resume accepting bitcoin for payment.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against six major peers, stood at 92.770 after pulling back from a 3 1/2-month high of 93.194 touched on Wednesday.
The yen traded at 129.950 per euro, from an almost four-month top of 128.610 earlier this week, and at 81.07 to Australia’s dollar, from a 5 1/2-month peak of 79.85.
“Strong earnings have swept away Delta concerns in the U.S.,” weighing on haven currencies, National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) analyst Tapas Strickland wrote in a note to clients.
Unilever (NYSE:UL) Plc on Thursday reported higher-than-expected underlying sales growth for the second quarter and first half as consumers cooked more meals at home, but it reduced its full-year operating margin forecast due to surging commodity costs.
Underlying sales for the maker of Dove soap and Hellmann’s mayonnaise rose 5% in the three months that ended June 30, beating the 4.8% analysts had expected, according to a company supplied consensus.
Half-year sales came in 5.4% higher, above the 5.3% forecast and ahead of the group’s mid-term target of 3-5% growth.
The company said it now expected full-year underlying operating margins to be flat compared to slightly up earlier.
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