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European stocks largely unchanged; German GDP shows slight improvement

By Peter Nurse

Investing.com - European stock markets traded largely unchanged Friday in thin trading conditions, as investors digested German growth and consumer confidence data.

At 03:30 ET (08:30 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.1% lower, CAC 40 in France traded flat, while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. rose 0.1%.

Germany's economy grew by a shade more than initially thought in the third quarter, according to data released Friday, as gross domestic product expanded by 0.4%, rather than the 0.3% reported in its first reading.

On an annual basis, the German GDP grew 1.2% in the third quarter, a sharp slowdown from the 1.7% growth seen in the same quarter a year ago when Europe’s largest economy still had momentum from its post-pandemic reopening.

The forward-looking GfK German consumer climate index also showed some signs of improvement, for the second straight month, climbing to -40.2, still close to its all-time low.

Speeches by ECB’s Kerstin af Jochnick and Luis de Guindos will also be of interest Friday, 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 and helped by a weaker U.S. dollar, which makes the commodity cheaper for foreign buyers.

However, crude markets are still set to post a third consecutive losing week 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 also 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 03:30 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1% higher at $78.75 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.8% to $86.01. There was no WTI settlement on Thursday due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,752.65/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0419.

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