Europe midday: Shares flat ahead of US payrolls

By Frank Prenesti

European markets opened lower on Friday with miners falling after a weak session in Asia and investors awaiting US jobs numbers later in the day.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was flat at midday, having been down 0.43% in early morning trade. Oil traded slightly higher ahead of a meeting of the OPEC+ meeting on Sunday.

Oil producing nations last month cut daily oil production in an effort to boost prices. Meanwhile on Friday the European Union reportedly agreed to a $60 price cap on Russian oil with an adjustment mechanism to keep it 5% below the oil price.

“This week oil has been staging gains amid optimism towards the potential loosening of Covid restrictions in China and the opening up of its economy at last, which could potentially unleash demand for crude oil from the world’s second largest economy,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

“After a surge in oil prices in the first quarter following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, brent crude has been slowly pushing lower since March. However, this week has reinvigorated the crude bulls.”

BP and Shell fell ahead of the talks.

In economic news, Germany recorded a fall in both exports and imports in October, official data leading to a larger-than-expected trade surplus.

According to Destatis, the Federal Statistical Office, exports eased by a larger-than-forecast 0.6% month-on-month, to €133.5bn, while imports also fell by more than expected, down 3.7% at €126.6bn.

Exports to the European Union fell by 2.4%, while imports from the bloc were down 3.0%. Outside of Europe, exports increased 1.6% while imports fell 4.3%.

As a result, the trade surplus – a country’s balance of exported and imported goods – declined to €5.3bn from €12.5bn a year earlier.

In other equity news, Swedish investment company Kinnevik fell more than 5% after an analyst downgrade.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com

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