European equity markets consolidated in today’s session, as mixed US economic data failed to provide a clear direction, while risk appetite was limited. The CAC and DAX indices ended fairly unchanged, while the London equity market posted small gains.
On the macroeconomic front, the US GDP release showed the economy contracted by 1% in Q1 2014, missing analysts’ expectations of a smaller 0.5% decline. However, GDP consumer spending and sales increased by 3.1% and 0.6%, respectively. In addition, weekly jobless claims rose by 311,500 in the week ending 23rd March, beating estimates. The pending home sales rose by 0.4% in April, compared to 1% in March.
The USD reversed and slid lower following the release of the US GDP figures with the USD index breaching below 80.4.
However, the softer US dollar provided some support to crude oil prices. Brent front month futures edged above $110 per barrel and the WTI front month contract climbed more than 0.5% above $103 per barrel, despite high builds in the US oil inventories levels.
According to the latest DOE weekly report, crude stocks increased by 1.6 million barrels against expectations of 483,000 barrels, while distillate and gasoline inventories declined by 196,000 and 1.8 million barrels, respectively.
In LME, base metal prices were lower with the exception of Aluminium which edged slightly higher, trading above 1840.