European shares slip as rate hike nerves crimp rally


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European shares fell on Tuesday amid a broad-based retreat as investors remained nervous ahead of a speech by the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell after two U.S. central bank officials struck a hawkish tone overnight.

The pan-European STOXX 600 dipped 0.7% in early trading, after hitting its highest level in eight months in the previous session.

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Powell’s speech has been on investors’ radar after the Fed policymakers said they expected the terminal rate — now at 4.25% to 4.5% — to rise to a 5%-5.25% to tame inflation.

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“Powell will be reminding investors that their fight against inflation is still not over, that the latest data is encouraging but doesn’t mean that the Fed is done hiking and that is going to be quite demoralizing for the market,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at Swissquote bank.

“There’s one thing, though, any hawkish comments out of Powell’s mouth today will still be taken with a pinch of salt because the markets are very eager to price in some dovish shift in Fed,” Ozkardeskaya said.

“We have the inflation report due on Thursday that investors know if we see a soft or soft enough figure, the market could absolutely continue going against Fed.”

Rate-sensitive technology stocks dropped 1.1%.

Industrials weighed on the STOXX 600 index, along with pharmaceutical majors such as Novo Nordisk and Novartis AG that dropped more than 1.5%, each.

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After a rough 2022, Europe’s STOXX 600 has risen nearly 4.8% since the start of this year on growing hopes that the recession in euro zone will be milder than expected and central banks will ease their aggressive monetary policy stance.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni on Tuesday said the contraction expected in the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of this year would not be so sharp as feared.

UK’s export-heavy FTSE 100 slipped 0.3%.

Britain announced plans on Monday to scale back energy subsidies to businesses by about 85% next financial year after the government described the current level as “unsustainably expensive.”

Among individual stocks, Euronav dropped 18.8% after Oslo-listed rival Frontline said it had terminated a $4.2-billion deal to merge with the Belgian oil tanker operator.

German utility Uniper slid 3.5% after the firm said its chief executive and chief operating officer will resign from the management board this year after the German government took a major control. (Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)


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