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EU Stock Futures Edge Higher; UBS Turns to Former Boss

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European stock markets are expected to edge higher at the open Wednesday, with investors continuing to focus on the health of the global banking sector.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.4% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.6% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.2%. 

Confidence is building that the turmoil surrounding the global banking sector may be coming to an end, with officials on both sides of the Atlantic keen to reassure the markets of the underlying strength of the industry.

Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr told a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday that the U.S. system is “sound and resilient.”

“We will continue to closely monitor conditions in the banking system and are prepared to use all of our tools for any size institution, as needed, to keep the system safe and sound,” he added.

European Central Bank officials have also spoken at length about the strength of the European banking regulatory system, with Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus praising the “high capital buffers, high liquidity and growing profitability from rising interest rates,” earlier this week.

The ECB also raised interest rates by a hefty 50 basis points earlier this month during the height of the crisis, in a visible sign of confidence in the region’s banks.

UBS (SIX:UBSG) will be in focus Wednesday after the Swiss banking giant named former boss Sergio Ermotti as its next chief executive officer, tasking him with steering through its takeover of struggling peer Credit Suisse.

Ermotti, the current chairman of Swiss Re (SIX:SRENH), had been the chief executive from 2011 to 2020, and will replace current Chief Executive Ralph Hamers from April 5.

In economic news, the forward-looking GfK German consumer climate index came in at -29.5 for April, an improvement from the revised -30.6 the prior month, adding to signs that confidence in Europe’s largest economy is growing following the surprising strength of the Ifo release earlier this week.

Oil prices rose Wednesday, climbing for the third day in a row after industry data showed a surprisingly large draw in U.S. crude stocks, pointing to tighter supply in the near-term.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell by just over 6 million barrels in the week ended on March 24, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute, compared with an expected small rise.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly report later in the session.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.7% higher at $73.74 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.4% to $78.47. 

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,981.00/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0833.

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