By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – European stock markets are seen opening marginally higher Wednesday, with investors waiting for news from the Federal Reserve on a busy day for corporate earnings.
At 2:10 AM ET (0710 GMT), the contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, in France climbed 0.1% and the contract in the U.K. rose 0.3%.
A number of blue-chip European companies released quarterly earnings Wednesday, and the banking sector is likely to be in the spotlight.
Deutsche Bank (DE:) posted its best quarterly profit since the first quarter of 2014, as strength at the investment bank helped offset the headwinds of an ongoing restructuring program and the coronavirus pandemic.
Spain’s Santander (MC:) said its net profit in the first quarter jumped almost five times as it didn’t book Covid-19 related provisions like a year ago and its U.S. unit posted a solid performance.
U.K. Lloyds Banking Group (LON:) also reported a strong quarterly result, with profit after tax of 1.4 billion pounds ($1.9 billion), supported by the release of expected credit loss provisions, given the improved economic outlook.
Additionally, Dassault Systemes (PA:) posted a rise in both operating profit and revenue in the first quarter, while the French software maker tweaked its full-year outlook.
Earnings from the likes of Covestro (DE:), Delivery Hero (DE:), Spotify (NYSE:) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:) are also due, among others.
Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve wraps up its two-day later Wednesday, but is not expected to make any changes to its ultra-easy monetary policies despite a steady run of good economic news in recent months.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference shortly after the decision is announced, and he is expected to reaffirm that easy monetary policy will remain in place for a prolonged period and dismiss any suggestions of tapering bond purchases.
On the data front in Europe, Germany’s survey of consumer sentiment disappointed, falling to -8.8 in May from -6.1 the previous month, reflecting the new nationwide regime of restrictions to contain the pandemic.
Oil prices edged higher Wednesday as traders digested the competing influences of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, deciding to proceed with plans to move forward with a gradual output increase and a rise in stockpiles.
U.S. crude futures traded 0.4% higher at $63.21 a barrel, while the contract rose 0.4% to $66.14.
An OPEC+ committee agreed late Tuesday to increase crude production as previously planned from May, amid growing confidence that there will be a strong demand rebound this year, even as coronavirus cases rise in countries such as India.
However, this positive news has to be balanced against the stating that U.S. crude stockpiles rose by over 4.3 million barrels last week.
Elsewhere, rose 0.6% to $1,768.95/oz, while traded 0.1% lower at 1.2077.