European equity markets posted modest gains on Wednesday, as mixed economic data from the US and Eurozone hurt risk appetite. The CAC, DAX and London equity index ended fairly unchanged, consolidating within the recent range.
On the macroeconomic front, the release of the US ADP national employment showed there were 191,000 jobs added in March, compared to 195,000 initially expected. The report tends to provide an insight ahead of the official US non-farm payroll report on Friday. On a more positive note, durable goods and factory orders increased by 2.2% and 1.6% respectively, showing signs of optimism about the current market conditions.
Crude oil prices extended losses with Brent futures retreating sharply toward $104 per barrel due to profit taking following the recent disappointing manufacturing PMI data. In London, Petrofac and Royal Dutch Shell declined by 1.04% and 0.87%, respectively. On the other hand, banks and financial stocks continued their strong upside momentum with Barclays, RBS and Lloyds gaining between 1.63% and 2.23%.
Tomorrow, market participants will be keeping an eye on the weekly US jobless claims report as well as Challenger Layoffs data, which could provide an insight ahead of the crucial non-farm payroll figures on Friday. Furthermore, the release of the ISM non-manufacturing PMI data will also add to market sentiment.