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Title: European Stock Futures Edge Higher; Turbulent Week Draws to a Close

Apr 08, 2022 02:00AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

European stock markets are expected to open marginally higher on Friday as investors continue to digest the prospect of tighter monetary policy, the impact of further sanctions against Russia and possible political unrest in France.

At 2:05 a.m. ET, the DAX futures in Germany were 0.2% higher, the CAC 40 futures in France were 1% higher, and the FTSE 100 futures in the United Kingdom were 0.9% higher.

Despite these gains, European stock markets will end the week largely in the red. The DAX is down about 2.5% so far, the CAC 40 is down 3.3%, and the pan-European STOXX 600 index is down 0.7%.

The prospect of aggressive global interest rate hikes has rattled investors this week, as the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled it was ready to act faster than previously planned to curb rampant inflation.

Policymakers at the European Central Bank were not as aggressive, but still appeared intent on scaling back stimulus, according to reports from their March meeting released Thursday.

The reports indicate that "a large number of members considered that the current high level of inflation and its persistence require immediate further steps to normalize monetary policy," the reports say.

Elsewhere, the war in Ukraine continues, with many Ukrainians evacuated from eastern cities ahead of an expected major Russian offensive.

Russian troops are accused of committing atrocities against Ukrainian civilians, which Moscow denies. This has led the United Nations General Assembly to expel Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.S. Congress to strip Russia of "most favored nation" status in trade, and the European Union to impose a ban on coal imports-the first time sanctions have targeted Russia's vital energy revenues.

Also on the radar is the risk of political upheaval in France, where far-right leader Marine Le Pen is very close to incumbent Emmanuel Macron in opinion polls ahead of Sunday's first round of French presidential elections.

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