U.S. equity futures edged lower Tuesday, while European stocks slipped after solid early gains, as markets digested stronger-than-expected earnings and economic data but remained focused on questions over the fate of U.S. tax reform and slowing growth signals from China.
Wall Street futures are indicating modest declines at the opening bell after last night's single-digit gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average expected to start the session around 5 points lower at the bell and the broader S&P 500 looking at a 2.5 point, or 0.10%, decline at the start of trading.
House Republicans say they should have enough votes to pass their version of the reform bill this week, while U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to address GOP lawmakers on the issue Thursday. The Senate plan, meanwhile, which would add $1.5 trillion to the country's deficit over ten years and eliminate popular deductions such as state and local taxes, may struggle to find support given the 60-seat threshold required for its passage.
In Europe, Germany's DAX performance index was marked 0.15% lower in the opening hours of trading in Frankfurt despite a stronger-than-expected reading of 3.3% annual GDP growth in Europe's largest economy. Germany's official statistics office, Destatis, also lifted its full-year forecast to an annual rate of 3.6%. Eurostat, the statistics office for the European Union, confirmed its flash estimate of 2.5% annual third quarter GDP growth for the currency area.
The collective data lifted the euro by around 0.47% against the dollar to 1.1720, taking the steam out of an earlier mini rally in regional stocks and pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark 0.27% lower to 385.10 points.
Britain's FTSE 100, however, rose 0.15% as investors kept tabs on a softer pound sterling and bet that consumer price rises may have peaked in the cooling post-Brexit economy after U.K. inflation unexpectedly held steady at a five-year high last month.
Annual inflation was tabbed at 3% in October, the Office for National Statistics said, a figure that matched the final reading for September but missed analysts' forecasts of a 3.1% acceleration.
The pound slipped around 0.21% immediately following the release to trade at 1.3087 against the U.S. dollar by 09:45 London time as traders bet that the Bank of England will not need to accelerate its tightening schedule as the economy continues to sputter as the country negotiates its exit from the European Union.
An early mover of note in European trading were shares of Vodafone plc (VOD) , which surged more than 4% after it topped estimates for its first half earnings Tuesday and lifted guidance for the rest of the year thanks to stronger-than-expected data and broadband growth in key European markets.
Infineon Technologies AG (IFNNY) shares leaped nearly 4% to the top of the German market after the company said its 2018 outlook could surprise to the upside, and its dividend could increase, after a tepid fourth fiscal quarter earnings report that missed analysts' estimates.
Infineon, which supplies chips for Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad, said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in September fell 20% from the same period last year to €0.16 per share while revenues grew 9% to €1.82 billion. However, the group said it sees 2018 fiscal year revenue growth of around 9% and noted it will propose a 13.3% increase in its annual dividend, taking it to €0.25 per share.
Away from equities, several of the world's most important central bankers are due to speak this week, highlighted by the European Central Bank Communications Conference in Frankfurt, which will host a panel discussion that includes Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, ECB President Mario Draghi, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.
The dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was little changed at 94.48 ahead of the meeting, although U.S. Treasury bond yields crept higher again during Monday's trading session in New York at held at the 2.4% mark for much of the Asia session.
Stocks in the region were pressured as a result, but not overly so, with the region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan slipping around 0.08% from its 10-year peak and the Nikkei 225 in Japan rising as much as 0.7% at one stage before giving back gains to end the session little-changed from its Monday close.
Data from China, the world's second-largest economy, was also linked to the equity torpor, with major readings on retail sales and industrial output showing firm advances but still missing analysts' forecasts. Retail sales last month jumped 10% from the same period last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, while industrial output expanded 6.2%, a figure that lagged both the Street consensus of 6.3% and the final September tally of 6.6%.