European Shares Seen Opening Up In Cautious Trade

European stocks are likely to open higher on Thursday, even as underlying sentiment may remain cautious as U.S.-China tensions rise and coronavirus deaths in the U.S. continue to climb.

The Trump administration’s decision to close China’s consulate in Houston over concerns about spying has sent U.S.-China relations to a new low.

U.S. deaths from the coronavirus rose by more than 1100 for a second day in a row Wednesday, while total cases neared 4 million.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro again tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but the head of state was nevertheless “in good condition”, the president’s office said.

Asian shares are trading mixed, with Japanese markets closed for a four-day weekend. The downside, if any, was limited after Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech signed a $2 billion deal to supply their experimental coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government.

The South Korean economy plunged into recession in the second quarter in its worst decline in more than two decades, central bank data showed today.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy contracted 3.3 percent in the June quarter from three months earlier, marking the sharpest contraction since the first quarter of 1998.

The dollar extended losses and gold hovered near a nine-year high amid the slow progress being made by U.S. lawmakers in drafting a new stimulus package. Oil traded flat after data showed a surprise increase in U.S. crude oil reserves.

Germany’s Gfk consumer confidence survey results are due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news. The forward-looking consumer sentiment index is expected to rise to -5 in August from -9.6 in July.

Across the Atlantic, reaction to the weekly jobless claims report and the latest batch of corporate earnings may sway sentiment. Shares of Microsoft Corp. dropped and Tesla Inc. surged after the companies released earnings in after-hours trading Wednesday.

U.S. stocks rose overnight as upbeat housing data and hopes for another round of government stimulus for the virus-stricken U.S. economy offset concerns that rising U.S.-China tensions could threaten the Phase One trade deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial average gained 0.6 percent to reach its best closing level in over a month and the S&P 500 also rose 0.6 percent to hit a five-month closing high, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index edged up 0.2 percent.

European stocks ended Wednesday’s session lower as investors weighed renewed U.S.-China tensions and surging coronavirus cases around the world.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gave up 0.9 percent. The German DAX shed half a percent, France’s CAC 40 index lost 1.3 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 1 percent.

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