European shares made modest gains on Thursday after data showed French inflation eased in November, boosting hopes the European Central Bank could start trimming interest rates.

Pantheon Macroeconomics said Eurozone inflation could well come in below expectations amid easing prices in the bloc's major economies, citing France's better-than-expected CPI print.

The French data matched similar declines in inflation in Germany and Spain, and points to a rate of 2.6% for the wider 20-member eurozone, according to Pantheon's estimates.

U.S. PCE price data is due at 1330 GMT, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge.

"Given the surge in stock markets over the last month, and with month-end upon us, any uptick in U.S. inflation data could put some pressure on equities," IG said.

U.S. Markets:

Stock futures ticked up after lackluster trading in the previous session.

Some key events for investors later in the day: Tesla will mark the first deliveries of its Cybertruck, while results are due from Dell Technologies, Marvell Technology, Kroger and Ulta Beauty.


The dollar rose, rebounding after recent losses, but strong upcoming U.S. activity data could be needed for it to continue rising, ING said.

"U.S. activity data needs to do the heavy lifting in a dollar recovery by reviving bond bears."

U.S. weekly jobless claims and personal spending data could be worth watching, ING said, adding that if Fed officials push back against increased interest-rate cut expectations this could also support the dollar.

The DXY dollar index could run into selling at around 103.50 if data halt the rally in Treasurys, ING said.

Capital Economics said a key question for currency markets over the next couple of years is how expectations for interest rates--and therefore rate differentials between economies--evolve as the coming easing cycle plays out.

"In other words, how far central banks actually end up cutting rates compared to what is already discounted in money markets."

Capital Economics expects interest rate cuts in G10 economies to be larger than currently discounted in markets.

"As inflation comes back to target next year and growth weakens, we expect policymakers to abandon their 'higher for longer' approach and ease policy," it said, expecting policy rates to revert to roughly neutral setting but not into accommodative territory.


A decent drop in eurozone inflation should limit the upside in German Bund yields, even as front-end valuations look "increasingly ambitious," Commerzbank Research said.

"Bullish front-end dynamics are driving the rally across bond markets after German and Spanish CPI figures come in noticeably below consensus, but the air should be getting thinner soon with ECB rate cut expectations looking increasingly stretched," Commerzbank Research said.

Flash estimate inflation data for the eurozone are due for release at 1000 GMT.

Citi Research said a potential upgrade of Greece to investment grade is in the store on Friday when Fitch is scheduled to review the country's BB+ rating and stable outlook. However, this upside seems partly in the price, it added.


Oil prices were around 1% higher ahead of OPEC+'s ministerial meeting, with a rollover of existing curbs still seen as the most likely scenario, but expectations of deeper cuts in an effort to shore up prices are growing among traders.

"Clearly, this growing expectation leaves downside risk for the market if OPEC+ disappoint later today," ING said.

Meanwhile, Chinese PMI figures indicate manufacturing activity contracted further in November, a worrying sign that stimulus efforts are falling short, renewing concerns about oil demand.


Metal prices were mixed with investors looking ahead to key macro movers--the OPEC ministerial meeting and U.S. PCE inflation data.

Peak Trading Research said markets are bullish, adding that the most positive scenario would be "larger than expected OPEC production cuts and weaker PCE inflation data."

That would lower the dollar and raise crude oil prices, which would in turn boost commodities, Peak added.


ABB Raises Financial Targets as Company Focuses on Growth

ABB has raised its financial targets as the Switzerland-based technology company said the majority of its divisions have progressed toward a so-called strategic growth mandate.

ABB on Thursday lifted its long-term comparable revenue growth target to between 5% and 7% percent through the economic cycle, up from between 3% and 5% previously.

SAS Misses Market Views on Higher Costs; Expects Chapter 11 Plan Approval Early 2024

SAS said its net loss widened in its fiscal fourth quarter, missing market views, amid a weak Swedish krona and increasing jet-fuel prices.

The Scandinavian airline on Thursday reported a net loss of SEK1.93 billion Swedish kronor ($186.2 million) in the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31 from a loss of SEK1.24 billion in the same quarter in fiscal 2022, driven by higher costs from adverse currency trends and jet fuel prices.

Remy Cointreau Posts a Drop in Sales, Earnings Due to US Headwinds

Remy Cointreau posted a decline in sales and earnings for the first half of fiscal 2024 due to high inventories and rising interest rates in the U.S. market.

The French distiller booked current operating profit of 169.1 million euros ($185.5 million) in the six months to Sept. 30, which was 43% lower on year organically. This reflected a decrease in sales that was partially offset by a reduction in overhead costs, the company said on Thursday.

ASML to Appoint Christophe Fouquet as President, CEO

ASML Holding plans to appoint Christophe Fouquet as president and chief executive officer.

The Dutch semiconductor-equipment maker said Thursday that Fouquet's appointment is subject to notification of the annual general meeting of shareholders on April 24.


China's Economy Faces Sour End to the Year

SINGAPORE-A brief rebound in China's struggling economy showed worrying new signs of flickering out, heaping pressure on Beijing to take bolder steps to rev up growth.

Factory activity slid deeper into contraction in November as domestic and foreign orders dried up, while, in an ominous sign for consumer spending, activity in the services sector shrank for the first time this year, according to business surveys released Thursday. Only construction registered any expansion compared with the previous month as government spending on infrastructure increased.

Consumers Likely Pulled Back Spending in October

Americans slowed their spending in October and inflation ebbed as the economy downshifted from a fast-paced third quarter, forecasters say.

Fed's Beige Book finds economy has slowed - and so has inflation

The U.S. economy slowed in November while inflation also tapered off, according to a Federal Reserve survey, suggesting the central bank could be finished raising interest rates if those trends continue.

The survey, known as the Beige Book, said the economy has softened since the previous report at the end of summer. The latest survey covers the period of Oct. 6 to Nov. 17.

OPEC+ Mulls New Oil Production Cuts Amid Middle East Conflict

OPEC and its Russia-led allies are considering new oil production cuts of as much as 1 million barrels a day, delegates said Wednesday, despite tensions in oil markets amid the conflict in the Middle East.

The move, which would likely send oil prices higher, could be announced Thursday at a virtual meeting of the cartel. The meeting, originally scheduled for last week, was postponed over disagreements about production.

Israel, Hamas Agree to Extend Truce by One Day

Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the temporary truce by one day, following the release of 16 hostages held by militants in Gaza.

Qatar announced the extension early Thursday.

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-30-23 0506ET