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Title: European Stock Futures Higher; Ukraine War, French Election in Focus

Apr 21, 2022 02:07AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

European stock markets are expected to open slightly higher on Thursday, with investors keeping an eye on developments in Ukraine and the French presidential campaign.

At 2:05 GMT (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany was trading 0.4% higher, the CAC 40 futures contract in France was up 0.3%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the UK was up 0.3%.

The war in Ukraine remains at the forefront of investors' minds as Russia now focuses on taking control of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, a campaign the West expects could last for many months.

G7 finance ministers on Wednesday announced plans to provide at least $24 billion in additional support to Ukraine for 2022 and beyond, adding that they are prepared to provide more if needed.

Elsewhere, French President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen took part in a fierce televised debate late on Wednesday night ahead of Sunday's vote to decide the direction of Europe's second-largest economy for the next five years.

Later on Thursday, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will take part in a panel discussion at the IMF and World Bank meetings alongside Fed chairman Jerome Powell. Her comments will be closely studied for clues on future monetary policy after the eurozone's consumer price index rose to 7.5% from 5.9% the previous month.

The ECB could raise base interest rates above zero by the end of the year unless the eurozone economy suffers a severe shock and may even have to deploy a "restrictive" policy to bring soaring prices under control, Governing Council member Pierre Wunsch said on Thursday.

In corporate news, Nestlé will be in the spotlight after the Swiss food group reaffirmed its 2022 targets after a sharp price increase to fight cost inflation helped boost organic sales more than expected in the first quarter.

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