European shares climb on China's optimism

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European shares opened higher amid optimism about China's reopening with Chinese officials playing down the country's COVID outbreak as the Lunar New Year rush runs at full tilt.

More than 2 billion trips are expected to take place across China between Jan. 7 and Feb. 15, the Chinese government estimated.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX is up 0.2%, with oil and gas .SXEP and real estate .SX86P sectors leading the pack, up around 0.7%.

Energy stocks tracked crude prices higher on hopes of a recovery in demand in the world's second-biggest economy.

A fresh batch of earnings results tempered the enthusiasm. Shares of Sweden's Ericsson ERICb.ST fell 8% as the networking and telecommunications firm's core earnings missed expectations for the third quarter in a row.

Shares of British lender Close Brothers CBRO.L are down 13% after trading update.

(Joice Alves)



With the Year of the Rabbit upon us, the Asian markets shrugged off some of the skittishness seen overnight on Wall Street, attempting a bit of a risk-on rally. Thin liquidity will keep gains capped, though, and fears of an economic slowdown along with worries over the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates higher for longer are unlikely to fade away.

A new worry has been added to investors' inbox of angst: the U.S. debt ceiling, with the U.S. government hitting its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit on Thursday. But with the U.S. Treasury using extraordinary cash management measures, staving off default until June 5, markets may not be immediately concerned.

So what's next? A standoff between the Republican-controlled House and President Joe Biden's Democrats on lifting the ceiling, which investors hope will be resolved and not result in a repeat of the 2011 crisis.

Meanwhile, Japan's consumer inflation touched a fresh 41 year high, keeping speculation swirling that the Bank of Japan will eventually walk away from its ultra-easy monetary policy.

Just two days back, the BOJ defied market expectations and stood by its yield curve control policy, but the market is willing to bet that the central bank will soon change its tune.

Speaking of central banks, the European Central Bank has pushed back strongly against market bets that it would deliver smaller rate hikes as a result of easing inflation.

The hawkish rhetoric is likely to continue, with ECB President Christine Lagarde due to speak again at Davos after stressing on Thursday that the central bank will stay the course of rate hikes to tame inflation.

Investor focus will be on UK retail sales for December, which are expected to rise 0.5%, to gauge how consumer spending held up during Christmas in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.

Meanwhile, another one bites the dust on planet crypto after a lending unit of crypto firm Genesis filed for bankruptcy protection.

Key developments that could influence markets on Friday:

Economic events: UK December retail sales, Germany December producer prices

Speakers: IMF's Kristalina Georgieva and ECB's Christine Lagarde to speak in Davos

(Ankur Banerjee)



Future are pointing European equity markets are set to open in positive territory getting a boost from optimism about China's reopening following the lifting of stringent COVID curbs, as markets prepared for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Sentiment improved when investor worries about more Federal Reserve tightening were heightened by robust U.S. employment data and fresh hawkish rhetoric from central bank officials this week.

STOXX are seeing recovering some grounds after recording its biggest daily decline since Mid December on Thursday. STOXX 50 futures STXEc1 are up 0.6%.

Retailers could be under pressure in the UK, as data showed British retail sales volumes fell by 1% in monthly terms in December. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a 0.5% rise in sales in the key Christmas month for retailers from November.

(Joice Alves)


Japan's core inflation hits fresh 41-year high

U.S. government approaches its debt ceiling again


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