Commodity-linked stocks pull down European equities, US inflation data eyed

Commodity-linked stocks pull down European equities, US inflation data eyed

(Reuters) -European shares slipped on Wednesday, hurt by a decline in basic resources shares as lower metal prices weighed, while investors assessed corporate earnings and geared for a key U.S. inflation print later this week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.1% by 0902 GMT.

Basic resources companies dipped 0.4%, tracking weak base metal and precious metal prices as investors exercised caution ahead of a key U.S. inflation print, due on Thursday. [GOL/] [MET/L]

The construction and materials index slid 0.5%, bogged down by a 3.4% decline in Sweden’s Skanska after the construction company announced U.S.-led property value writedowns.

On the data front, Norway’s core inflation rate fell below expectations in December, which could help bring forward the central bank’s policy easing plan.

Separately, the outlook for Germany’s construction sector is expected to be grim in 2024, two prominent research institutes said on Wednesday, adding to subdued economic data from the region earlier this week.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos flagged economic contraction in December, confirming the possibility of a technical recession in the second-half of 2023 and weak prospects for the near term.

“The European data has been quite weak at the start of this year, especially we saw some weaker activity on the German side. So the market needs more fresh news to continue that rally (towards the end of 2023),” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior market analyst at Swissquote Bank.

Investor focus this week will be on the earnings season in the U.S. and Europe, which will help assess the impact of high interest rates on profit margins, potentially influencing the market direction for the next few weeks.

Among other major movers, shares in Italy’s Davide Campari (LON:0ROY) dropped 5.7% to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after the spirits group completed a 1.2 bln euro ($1.3 bln) private placement of shares and bonds to fund French cognac house Courvoisier’s acquisition.

The broader food and beverages (SX3P) index dipped 0.1% on the news.

UK’s Greggs (LON:GRG) was the biggest gainer on the STOXX 600, advancing 7.5% as the baker and food-to-go company reported a bigger-than-expected rise in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter.

InPost added 2.2% after the Polish parcel locker firm reported 21% growth in parcel volumes in the fourth quarter.

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