Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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European stocks higher; buoyant tone despite U.K. GDP fall By

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By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded higher Friday, continuing the positive tone generated by the softer-than-expected U.S. inflation, even as growth data pointed to the U.K. entering a recession.

At 03:50 ET (08:50 GMT), the in Germany traded 0.6% higher, in France rose 1.1% and the in the U.K. climbed 0.3%.

Economic data released Friday showed that fell 0.2% in the third quarter from the second, a slightly better outcome than the 0.5% decline feared, thanks to a stronger-than-expected performance by industry in September.

However, this still represented the first contraction in six quarters, with dropping 0.6% in the month of September alone, putting the country on track for what the has warned could be the longest recession in decades.

Still, the tone remains buoyant, adding to the previous session’s gains after the fell by more than expected in October, bolstering hopes of an early end to the current cycle of interest rate increases by the .

Additionally, reports from China’s state media that the quarantine time for international travelers had been reduced by two days to five has added to the confident mood, raising hopes of a greater relaxation of the country’s strict COVID mobility restrictions.

Political uncertainty continued in the U.S., with the battles in the states of Arizona and Nevada holding the key to control of the U.S. Senate, three days after Americans cast their final ballots in midterm elections.

Turning to the corporate sector, Richemont (SIX:) stock soared 12% despite the Swiss luxury group reporting a rare loss during its first half after taking a substantial charge related to its exit from online fashion retailer YOOX Net-A-Porter. Still, from its continuing operations, Richemont ‘s profit increased by 40% and profit margins improved.

The luxury sector as a whole, including the likes of LVMH (EPA:), Kering (EPA:) and Hermes International (EPA:), gained Friday, helped by a relaxation of China’s stringent COVID rules, given the country’s importance as an export market.

Oil prices rose Friday, extending the previous session’s gains after the milder-than-expected U.S. inflation release raised hopes of a soft landing for the U.S. economy, the world’s largest.

Also boosting the tone was the news from China, even as the oil market looks set for a weekly loss as the surge in cases in the world’s largest importer of crude weighed on the demand outlook.

By 02:00 ET, futures traded 2.9% higher at $89.00 a barrel, while the contract rose 2.7% to $96.21. Both benchmarks posted gains of approximately 1% on Thursday, but are heading for losses of over 3% for the week.

Additionally, rose 0.8% to $1,767.60/oz, while traded 0.6% higher at 1.0264.

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