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European stock futures edge higher; euro zone retail sales in focus


European stock markets are expected to open marginally higher Tuesday, helped by gains in Asia overnight ahead of the release of the latest euro zone retail sales data.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.3% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.4%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.4%.

European equities are set to return from the long Easter weekend with a broadly positive outlook, helped by improved sentiment across large parts of Asia.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, in particular, gained over 1% after legendary U.S. investor Warren Buffett indicated he was looking to increase his exposure to Japanese stocks by lifting his holdings in the nation’s trading houses.

Back in Europe, traders return from the break with very little on the economic calendar aside from euro zone retail sales for February.

The region’s retail sales are expected to have fallen 0.8% on the month, an annual drop of 3.5%, and indicative of the pressures soaring prices were placing on consumers’ disposable income.

A lot of attention this week, however, is going to be on the U.S. markets in the wake of Friday’s official jobs report.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 236,000 jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.5% and indicating that the U.S. labor market remains resilient.

This could allow the Federal Reserve room to hike interest rates once more in May, but all eyes will now be on Wednesday’s inflation data as well as the minutes of the Fed’s March meeting for further clues of the future path of monetary policy.

On the corporate side, the major U.S. banks start publishing their earnings later this week.

Oil prices rose Tuesday on hopes of demand growth in Asia as well as expectations that inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest crude consumer, will fall again.

Data showed that fuel consumption in India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, jumped by 5% in March from a year earlier.

Reuters also reported that Chinese airlines were hiring en masse, positioning for an expected rebound in travel demand this year after the relaxation of the country’s anti-COVID restrictions.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry body, is scheduled to release its weekly data on U.S. crude stockpiles later in the session, and is expected to show another fall after last week’s drop of over 4 million barrels.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% higher at $80.45 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.8% to $84.84.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.5% to $2,014.05/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% higher at 1.0894.

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