European Stock Futures Lower; Chinese Regulatory Fears Weigh

By Peter Nurse 

European stock markets are expected to open lower Tuesday, weighed by losses in Asia amid Covid, geopolitical concerns and fresh Chinese regulatory fears.

DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.5% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.4% and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.4%.

European markets received a weak handover from Asia, with the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropping 1.8% after Chinese regulators issued a set of draft regulations for the internet sector on Tuesday, the latest move in a crackdown on the country’s powerful tech companies.

The directives seek to ban unfair competition while restricting the use of user data, and resulted in a number of the important Hong Kong-listed internet stocks falling sharply.

This follows Chinese economic data on Monday pointing to a slowdown in growth at the region’s main economic driver due to rising cases of the highly-transmissible delta Covid variant and the measures taken to contain it, while the turmoil in Afghanistan is also denting investors’ confidence. 

Back in Europe, the U.K. employment situation picked up in July as the country reopened fully from the Covid-induced lockdowns. The claimant count dropped 7,800, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.7% in June.

The second reading of the second-quarter GDP release for the Eurozone is due later in the session, and should confirm the strong growth of 13.7% of the preliminary estimate.

In the corporate sector, the retail sector is likely to be in focus Tuesday with U.S. giants Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) set to release their second-quarter earnings before the market opens.

Elsewhere, oil prices edged lower Tuesday, struggling to find support after Monday’s sharp losses on Covid-related fears for global demand.

The Energy Information Administration also noted Monday, in its monthly report, that U.S. shale oil output is expected to rise to 8.1 million barrels per day in September, the highest since May 2020. This puts the weekly crude inventory data by the American Petroleum Institute, due later Tuesday, firmly into focus.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.2% lower at $66.94 a barrel, after dropping 1.7% Monday, while the Brent contract fell 0.2% to $69.38, after falling 1.5% during the previous session.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,793.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1767.

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