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European stock futures mixed; German GDP grows in third quarter

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are expected to open mixed Friday in thin trading conditions, with investors digesting German growth and consumer confidence data.

At 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.1%, while the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.1%.

The final German GDP data for the third quarter saw that growth in the Eurozone’s largest economy rose 0.4% on the quarter, a small improvement from the previous quarter.

On an annual basis, the German economy grew 1.2% in the third quarter, a sharp slowdown from the 1.7% growth seen in the same quarter a year ago.

The forward-looking GfK German consumer climate index also showed some signs of improvement, climbing to -40.2 in December from -41.9 the previous month.

Also of interest will be speeches by ECB’s Kerstin af Jochnick and Luis de Guindos, a day after the accounts of the Oct 26-27 meeting showed that policymakers feared that inflation may be getting entrenched so rates would need to rise further.

The ECB has increased rates by a record 75 basis points at its last two meetings as it tries to tackle Eurozone inflation running at double digits.

Activity is likely to be muted in Europe Friday, with little impetus expected from American investors as Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday extends to an early close on Wall Street Friday.

Crude oil prices edged higher Friday, bouncing amid thin liquidity, but are still set to post a third consecutive losing week on worries about Chinese demand and the level of the proposed price cap on Russian oil from the Group of Seven countries.

Crude markets have fallen sharply in recent sessions as surging COVID-19 cases in China have prompted the world’s largest oil importer to reintroduce strict lockdown measures in several major cities, hitting economic activity and thus the demand for crude.

European Union and G7 officials are reportedly discussing a cap on Russian seaborne oil at $65-$70 a barrel, a higher range than expected, dispelling fears that Moscow will slash oil exports to prevent selling at a loss.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% higher at $78.34 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.3% to $85.57. There was no WTI settlement on Thursday due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,755.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded flat at 1.0408.

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