Looming U.S. inflation data and ECB decision keep markets tethered

Looming U.S. inflation data and ECB decision keep markets tethered

European stocks eased from record levels on Thursday as traders positioned for two key events, the release of U.S. inflation data and a European Central Bank decision.

Stocks in Europe have quietly been extending new records, with the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, 0.18% closing higher for four consecutive sessions. U.S. investors have noticed, with European exchange-traded funds accounting for three of the top six in new flows over the last month, according to FactSet data. In early trade, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.1% and U.S. stock futures ES00, 0.64% NQ00, 0.91% also edged lower.

The European Central Bank announces its monetary policy decision at 1:45 p.m. local time, or 7:45 a.m. Eastern, with expectations that the central bank will keep the monthly pace of bond purchases around the €80.7 billion in securities it acquired in May.

At 8:30 a.m. Eastern, U.S. consumer price data will be released, just as ECB President Christine Lagarde begins her press conference. Expectations, according to a Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal poll, are for both CPI and the core measure that excludes food and energy costs to rise 0.5% in May.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year yield TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.503% remained below 1.50% ahead of the CPI report.

Meanwhile a report showed U.K. housing prices remained red hot, with 83% of those surveyed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reporting rising prices in May, up from 76% in April. “Results point to a widening disparity between demand and supply within the market, with the flow of new listings deteriorating over the month while buyer enquiries rose at a solid rate,” said the RICS report.

Of stocks on the move, Soitec SOI, 2.74% surged 5% as the French maker of semiconductor materials outlined its plan to triple revenue by 2026.

Auto Trader AUTO, 6.09% rose 6% as the U.K. car listing publisher said it will soon resume stock buybacks and that current year profit margins should be in line with pre-pandemic levels.

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