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Photographer: Daniel Roland/AFP via Getty Images
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What to Watch in European Stocks This Morning

What to Watch in European Stocks This Morning

Photographer: Daniel Roland/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning. Here’s what we are watching ahead of the market open in Europe:

Firm Fed

It’s like it never happened. The U.S. Federal Reserve made no mention of the volatility that struck equity markets last month in its latest post-meeting statement. The central bank appeared to stay on course for another interest rate boost in December, noting that “economic activity has been rising at a strong rate.” The dollar jumped, and equities edged lower, while banks -- which benefit from higher lending rates -- outperformed in New York. The sector could benefit in Europe this morning.

U.K. Growth

Just like the first coffee of the morning, there’s nothing quite like that preliminary reading of quarterly gross domestic product. So, stop what you are doing at 9:30 a.m. London time. But note: While the statistics are closely watched by the Bank of England, its policy-making ability is currently impaired by Brexit uncertainty, with the timing of the Bank’s next interest rate rise dependent on the speed at which a divorce deal is reached. But don’t hold your breath -- the current draft of the Brexit accord might be 300 pages long, but it still doesn’t contain a solution for the Irish border problem, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Oil’s Bear Market

Well that escalated quickly. Oil traders went from forecasting $100-a-barrel-crude last month to declaring an official bear market last night, as futures in New York completed a drop of more than 20 percent since early October. The slump follows acceleration in both U.S. crude production and OPEC output, as well as the granting of U.S. waivers to certain countries that will allow some Iranian crude to flow into the market. Meanwhile the demand outlook has been weighed on by concern over faltering emerging-market economies and a U.S.-China trade war. Oil companies may be under pressure in Europe this morning.

Cartier Creaks

Designer goods group Cie. Financiere Richemont SA -- owner of the luxury jewelery and watch brand, Cartier -- reported a 3 percent reduction in operating profit, while noting “growing volatility in consumer demand, partly attributable to an uncertain economic and geopolitical environment.” Luxury goods have been among the sectors hit hardest by trade-war concerns in recent months, given that the sector is so dependent on demand from China. Richemont itself, for example, earns about a quarter of its revenue in China and Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vapers Vexed

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will impose strict new sales limits on many popular fruit-flavored vaping products amid what the health agency has called an “epidemic” of youth use. The restrictions will apply only to cartridge-style devices, such as a popular product from startup Juul Labs Inc., but watch shares of U.K. tobacco giants Imperial Brands Plc and British American Tobacco Plc at the open today. Imperial’s chief executive officer recently told Bloomberg that vaping is the future of the business. BAT is also targeting the space, although it warned last month that revenue from smoking alternatives will miss expectations this year.