European Stock Futures Mixed, Risk Sentiment Fragile


European stock markets are expected to open with little changes on Wednesday ahead of the release of Eurozone services activity data, as investors remain cautious amid lingering economic worries. Futures for the DAX in Germany traded at 0.1% lower, CAC 40 in France declined 0.2%, while the FTSE 100 in the UK rose 0.1%.

At the same time, the US JOLTS report released on Tuesday showed job openings dropped to a two year low in February, while data also revealed US manufacturing sector deflation in March. Looking to Europe, while there are some upbeat figures, the downward slide of manufacturing was seen in the released data in early April. With the Federal Reserve likely to pause its rate-hike cycle in the United States this month, the European Central Bank is widely expected to raise interest rates in May by 50 basis points, in response to rising underlying inflation. An example of this came earlier today when the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised rates by the same amount, citing the presence of overheating inflation.

The focus Wednesday will be the Eurozone services PMI, slated for release and expected to show continued expansion. In terms of corporate news, French catering and food services group Sodexo (EPA:EXHO) stated it is planning to list its Benefits & Rewards Services business in 2024. Meanwhile, Barry Callebaut (SIX:BARN) appointed Peter Feld its new group CEO after the world’s largest chocolate maker reported a decline in its first half sales volumes.

On the energy front, oil prices edged up Wednesday due to industry data displaying a decrease in US crude inventories, which mirrors a surge in crude prices over the weekend driven by OPEC+ output cuts.

Sodexo, a French company, is a world leader in providing a range of services ranging from food services and facilities management to performance improvement. Sodexo is present in 80 countries across the globe and serves 75 million consumers through its global network of 418,000 employees. The company is dedicated to making the everyday of its customers a better one by providing quality services and value to them.

Peter Feld is the new chief executive at Barry Callebaut. Since January 2018, he has been a board member at Barry Callebaut, a leading manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products. Mr Feld is a highly experienced entrepreneur with a broad background in the food and drink industry. He has a track record of success in establishing major companies and leading effective change management projects. Under his leadership, Barry Callebaut looks forward to achieving more successes by continuously innovating and adapting to customers’ needs and expectations.