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European stocks mixed; Lagarde speech, Fed minutes in focus

 European stock markets traded in a mixed fashion Tuesday, as investors await more comments from central bank policy makers while the corporate earnings season winds down.

At 03:05 ET (08:05 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.1% higher, while the CAC 40 in France traded 0.1% lower and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. fell 0.1%.

ECB speakers awaited

There are no major corporate earnings to focus on in Europe this session, and thus activity is likely to be limited as investors await speeches from a number of European Central Bank officials, including President Christine Lagarde.

Eurozone inflation retreated sharply to 2.9% in October, down from 4.3% the previous month, but ECB members have been keen to quash speculation that rate cuts are just around the corner after the central bank ended an unprecedented streak of 10 consecutive interest rate hikes last month.

The Governor of the Bank of Spain, Pablo Hernandez de Cos, said on Monday it was “premature” to talk about the possibility of interest rate cuts, while his French equivalent Francois Villeroy de Galhau said rates have reached a plateau where they will likely remain for the next few quarters.

Fed minutes in spotlight

Across the pond, investors will turn their focus to minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting, due for release later in the day, for cues on where rates are headed in the world’s largest economy.

Traders widely expected the Fed to hold rates unchanged in December, but speculation has started to grow that the U.S. central bank will start cutting interest rates by the summer of 2024.

Additionally, in the corporate sector, earnings are due from artificial intelligence chip leader Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), with expectation of another blockbuster revenue forecast.

EU car registrations soar in October

Back in Europe, the region’s auto sector received a boost after data showed that new car registrations rose 14.6% in October year on year, the 15th consecutive month of growth.

French new car registrations rose 21.9%, Italy increased 20%, Spain grew 18.1%, while Germany saw weaker growth of 4.9%.

Crude’s rebound rally cools

Oil prices fell Tuesday, handing back some of the recent gains as traders become cautious ahead of the weekend’s OPEC+ meeting.

By 03:05 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% lower at $77.47 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.4% to $82.00 a barrel.

Both contracts climbed about 2% on Monday, adding to Friday’s gains of around 4%, after Reuters reported that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, was set to consider making additional oil supply cuts when it meets on Nov. 26.

Weekly U.S. inventory reports from the American Petroleum Institute and the Energy Information Administration are due later on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,994.80/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.0958.

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