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European stocks lower; Chinese trade data disappoints

Investing.com - European stock markets edged lower Tuesday, as investors digested soft Chinese trade data ahead of the latest U.S. inflation report and the Bank of England’s policy-setting meeting.

At 03:40 ET (07:40 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.1% lower, the FTSE 100 in the U.K. dropped 0.1%, and the CAC 40 in France fell 0.4%.

European equities have benefited from generally positive earnings this quarter to date, with results from the banking sector showing a degree of strength, especially given the ongoing turmoil across the pond.

UBS (SIX:UBSG) stock rose 0.5% after announcing earlier Tuesday that Credit Suisse CEO Ulrich Koerner will join the executive board of the combined bank once it closes its government-sponsored takeover of its Swiss rival.

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That said, the International Monetary Fund remains concerned about the recent turbulence in the banking sector, with chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas saying on Monday that “the story is not over.”

Elsewhere, Direct Line (LON:DLGD) stock fell over 6% after the U.K.-based insurer said it has experienced an uptick in motoring claims, which will “put pressure” on earnings in 2023.

Daimler Truck (ETR:DTGGe) stock fell 3.5% after the German auto giant kept its outlook from earlier this year unchanged even as it confirmed preliminary results released late April of a 78% jump in operating profit.

Investors are also fretting over disappointing trade data from China, a major market for the eurozone’s largest exporters.

Data released earlier Tuesday showed China's imports contracted sharply in April, falling by an annual 7.9%, while exports grew by 8.5% in the same period after an unexpected surge of just under 15% in March.

This points to an uneven recovery from the second-largest economy in the world at a slower pace despite the lifting of COVID curbs.

Investors are also likely to adopt a cautious stance ahead of Wednesday’s U.S. inflation report.

The U.S. Federal Reserve delivered its tenth straight interest rate increase last week, as widely expected. It also indicated that it may pause its aggressive tightening campaign at its next meeting in June, but stressed the data dependency of its decision making.

The European Central Bank also increased interest rates last week, and speeches from board members Philip Lane, Isabel Schnabel later Tuesday will be studied for clues of future action.

However, the central bank focus this week will be on the Bank of England, which meets on Thursday.

Inflation in the U.K. is running at 10.1%, the highest of all the major markets in Europe, and this is expected to push the policymakers to approve another hike of 25 basis points.

Oil prices edged lower Tuesday, handing back some of the previous session’s strong gains in cautious trading ahead of the much anticipated U.S. inflation report.

By 03:40 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.1% lower at $72.38 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 1.1% to $76.10.

Both contracts had settled up more than 2% in the previous trading session.

Additionally, gold futures traded 0.1% lower at $2,030.35/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% lower at 1.0976.

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