European stock futures higher; U.S. inflation in focus By

© Reuters. – European stock markets are expected to open higher Thursday, with investors awaiting the release of a key U.S. inflation reading.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the contract in Germany traded 0.6% higher, in France climbed 0.7% and the contract in the U.K. rose 0.3%.

Siemens sees “normalization in demand”

The main European indices are expected to continue the positive tone of the previous session, as the banking sector looks to step further away from the one-month lows seen on Tuesday after the Italian government announced a windfall tax on its lenders.

The government in Rome quickly clarified that the 40% tax would not amount to more than 0.1% of their total assets, and this helped restore fragile investor confidence.

The earnings season remains in full flow Thursday, with Siemens (ETR:) reporting third-quarter profit below expectations, but the German engineering group noted a “normalization in demand”, particularly in China.

Thyssenkrupp (ETR:) said it was now targeting the upper end of its operating profit outlook range in 2023, with the German industrial conglomerate citing a robust third quarter that showed better-than-expected results at its materials and steel units.

U.S. inflation release in spotlight

However, the day’s main event will be the release of the latest U.S. inflation data.

The headline annual figure is forecast to pick up slightly in July to 3.3%, while the rate, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is forecast to climb 4.8% on an annual basis.

The Federal Reserve next meets in September, and a subdued inflation release could cement expectations that the policymakers will agree to end its hikes.

Crude slips ahead of key U.S. inflation data

Oil prices edged higher Thursday, remaining near multi-month highs ahead of key U.S. inflation data later in the session.

U.S. inventories unexpectedly grew in the week to August 4, data from the showed Wednesday, but there was also a much bigger-than-expected draw in gasoline and distillate stockpiles.

This helped the crude market push higher despite a sluggish economic recovery in China, the world’s oil largest importer.

By 02:00 ET, the futures traded 0.2% higher at $84.59 a barrel, while the contract climbed 0.2% to $87.72. Brent hit a six-month high on Wednesday, while WTI touched its strongest level since November 2022.

Additionally, edged lower to $1,950.10/oz, while traded 0.1% higher at 1.0990.

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