European markets focus on euro zone flash PMI data for May

European stocks are expected to open lower on Thursday, ahead of flash purchasing manager’s index (PMI) data for the euro zone, which will give an indication of activity in the region’s manufacturing and services industry in May.

London’s FTSE is seen 31 points lower at 6,038, Germany’s DAX is seen 86 points lower at 11,157, France’s CAC 40 is expected to open 35 points lower at 4,462 and Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 150 points lower at 17,019, according to IG. Markets in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden & Denmark are closed for the Ascension Day public holiday.

Aside from the PMI numbers from the euro zone, investors will also be following the latest coronavirus news. The World Health Organization said the number of newly-reported cases globally hit a daily record this week, despite authorities around the world attempting to ease lockdown measures put in place to curb the virus’ spread.

Markets had been boosted earlier in the week after Moderna announced a positive development for a potential coronavirus vaccine. On Wednesday, in response to a STAT News report that vaccine experts were skeptical of Moderna’s new data, the firm’s chairman told CNBC that it would never put out data on its potential vaccine that was different from “reality.”

Shares in Asia Pacific were little changed in Thursday afternoon trade while oil prices edged higher on Thursday after data showed U.S. crude inventories fell again, easing concerns about a supply glut.

Earnings come from Generali Thursday and the IHS Markit euro zone PMI data is due at 09:00 a.m. London time.

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