Written by 3:41 pm EU Investment

European markets open to close, stocks, data and earnings

U.S. stocks mixed as investors weigh further interest rate hikes

U.S. stocks traded mixed at the start of Wednesday’s session as investors weighed the prospect of further interest rate increases from central banks along with a possible recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped about 60 points, or 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite was slightly higher. The S&P 500 was virtually unmoved, struggling to regain the 4,000 level after falling below it on Tuesday for the first time since July.

All of the major averages are on track to end the month about 3% lower.

— Ryan Browne

Stocks on the move: Lundbergs up 5%, Oxford Nano down 5%

By late morning in Europe, Swedish investment firm Lundbergs saw its shares rise 5.5% to the top of the Stoxx 600, while at the bottom of the index, Britain’s Oxford Nanopore Technologies fell 5.5%.

Russia’s Gazprom rallies by over 20% after bumper profit and dividend announcement

Russia’s Gazprom saw its shares surge on Wednesday after reporting bumper first-half profits and announcing a new dividend to shareholders.

Stoyan Vassev | Press service of Gazprom Neft | via Reuters

Russian gas giant Gazprom posted a record first-half profit and promised new dividends to shareholders, sending its shares soaring more than 27% in early trade in Moscow on Wednesday.

The majority state-owned energy company said its board had proposed a dividend of 51.03 Russian rubles ($0.85) per ordinary share for the first half of 2022. In its first-half earnings report on Tuesday, Gazprom announced a record 2.5 trillion ruble ($41.75 billion) net profit.

The leap in the group’s share price took Russia’s dollar-denominated RTS index 3.6% higher and the ruble-denominated MOEX Russia Index 4.7% higher by late morning in Moscow.

Gazprom’s earnings boost comes amid volatile relations with its customers in Europe. The EU is frantically trying to reduce its reliance on Russian gas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while still being largely dependent on such supplies to the bloc.

Gazprom, meanwhile, has greatly reduced gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline citing maintenance issues and international sanctions, leading European officials to accuse Russia of using gas supplies as a way to “blackmail” it.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline has been shut down Wednesday with the outage due to last several days; Gazprom again said this was due to a compressor unit requiring maintenance.

— Elliot Smith

France’s Le Maire: EU must decouple price of gas and decarbonized energy ‘as soon as possible’

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday that the European Union must decouple the price of gas and decarbonized energy “as soon as possible,” and that France had been working with the EU Commission on the issue.

“I am deeply convinced that this is of the utmost importance to change the rules for the European energy markets. We cannot have this connection between the price of gas and the price of decarbonated energy,” Le Maire told CNBC’s Charlotte Reed.

– Elliot Smith

Stocks on the move: Ackermans & van Haaren up 6%, Drax down 2%

There was little by way of substantial individual share price movement on the Stoxx 600 in early trade.

Belgian diversified group Ackermans & van Haaren climbed 6.6% to lead the index after its first-half results, while British power group Drax slipped 2.5%.

CNBC Pro: What poses the biggest risk to stocks? Wall Street is watching these indicators closely

China’s factory activity contracted in August, official data shows

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for August stood at 49.4, official data showed.

That’s the second monthly contraction, but is better than the 49.2 that analysts expected, according to a Reuters poll. The PMI in July was at 49.

PMI readings are sequential and represent month-on-month expansion or contraction. The 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.

The non-manufacturing PMI came in at 52.6 for August, compared with a reading of 53.8 in July.

— Abigail Ng

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley names 3 EV stocks to cash in on Beijing’s auto sector boost

China’s government is striving to boost auto sales, and this is likely to benefit electric vehicles more than their petrol-based counterparts, according to Morgan Stanley.

“While China braces for its slowest quarterly economic growth in two years, the car industry is benefiting from multifaceted stimulus offered by central and local governments,” the bank’s analysts said in a note this month.

They named three buy-rated stocks they expect to get a boost from the measures.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European stocks are expected to open cautiously higher on Wednesday with the U.K.’s FTSE index seen 18 points higher at 7,560, Germany’s DAX 33 points higher at 13,944, France’s CAC 40 up 18 points at 6,616 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 42 points at 23,029, according to data from IG.

Data releases include preliminary euro zone unemployment data for the second quarter as well as second quarter gross domestic product. The latest U.K. inflation numbers for July will be released as well as preliminary second quarter Dutch GDP.

Earnings come from Uniper, Carlsberg, Persimmon, Balfour Beatty, BAT and National Grid.

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