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Markets' week ahead: Lagarde speech and OPEC+ meeting in focus

 European stocks started the week on a slightly gloomy note as investors looked forward to key economic data and speeches
European stocks started the week on a slightly gloomy note as investors looked forward to key economic data and speeches Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Indrabati Lahiri
Published on Updated
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European stocks started the week on a slightly gloomy note as investors looked forward to key economic data and speeches.

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European stocks were dragged down on Monday afternoon by energy prices, as Brent crude oil prices fell to $79.8 per barrel, pressurised by the upcoming OPEC+ meeting later this week. Energy stocks, further bogged down by China’s industrial profits being sluggish, were the biggest drags on European exchanges.

Markets also looked ahead to the European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde’s speech due later on Monday, for more clarity on the ECB’s upcoming monetary policy strategy.

Gold prices also soared to their highest in six months, at about $2,014 per troy ounce, buoyed by the dollar slacking and increased bets of the US Federal Reserve winding up its monetary tightening. However, consumer spending in the US still seems to be struggling somewhat, as the delayed effect of months of higher interest rates is starting to show.

Pharmaceuticals and steel stocks shine

On Monday afternoon, the CAC 40 index was slightly down 0.04% to €7,290, with the Stoxx 600 index also inching lower 0.12% to €459. Adding to this downbeat sentiment was the FTSE 100, with a fall of 0.31% to £7,465.

Amongst the top gainers on the CAC 40 index, was pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi, up 0.89% to €87.20. The company has recently announced that it’s trying to expand its eczema and asthma drug Dupixent’s uses to include “smoker’s lung” as well.

Steel company ArcelorMittal share prices also rallied, seeing a gain of 0.65% to €22.5, on the back of the company looking towards US LNG, as a new source of gas.

Coming to the top losers, banking and financial stocks did not seem to fare quite as well. BNP Paribas was down 0.88% to €56.5, with the company recently having acquired a 51% stake in Italy’s BCC Vita.

France’s Société Générale also slipped 0.73% to €22.5. The Central Bank of Mauritania has recently stopped the sale of Société Générale Mauritania’s sale to Coris Holding, based in Burkina Faso.

What to watch in the week ahead

Apart from the ECB President’s speech and the OPEC+ meeting, there is the December German GfK Consumer Confidence print, due on Tuesday, with expectations of it coming in at -28.1. If so, this would be the lowest in seven months and would be mostly due to rising essential goods prices, such as food and energy.

France, Turkey and Italy will also be releasing their consumer and economic confidence indexes this week.

Additionally, Spain’s November inflation and October retail sales reports will be out on Wednesday, with Germany releasing inflation figures and the OECD putting out its economic outlook report on the same day.

Furthermore, the second estimate for the US quarter-on-quarter gross domestic product growth rate for Q3 2023 will be out on Wednesday. Later in the week, investors will be on the lookout for Chinese PMI and German retail sales.

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