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Europe stocks fall as natural gas prices drop

natural gas prices

The FTSE 100 fell 0.6%, while the CAC tumbled 0.5%, and the DAX was 0.3% lower

European stock markets tumbled into the red on Thursday as natural gas prices dropped back to their levels before the Ukraine war.

In London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.6% after opening, while the CAC tumbled 0.5% in Paris, and the DAX was 0.3% lower in Frankfurt.

The month-ahead European gas future contract fell as low as €76.78 per megawatt hour, its lowest level in 10 months, according to Refinitiv data.

This is thanks to warmer-than-normal temperatures this winter, and consumption reduction targets.

UK gas prices have also declined from their highs earlier this year. The day-ahead gas price closed at 155p per therm on Wednesday, compared with 200p/therm at the start of 2022, and over 500p/therm in August.

It comes as industrial action is continuing across Britain today, with the new head of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) warning that further strikes lie ahead in 2023, unless it enters negotiations over pay rises.

Incoming general secretary Paul Nowak said ‘we must end Britain’s living standards nightmare’ – which has been fuelled by higher energy costs – and is also accusing ministers of ‘sabotaging efforts to reach settlements’.

On Wall Street, S&P 500 futures were up 0.1%, Dow futures shed 0.06%, and Nasdaq futures were 0.4% higher as trade began in Europe.

On Wednesday, US stocks closed down with the S&P 500 and NASDAQ falling 1.2% and 1.35% respectively.

Yesterday’s sell-off went beyond tech shares, with oil company valuations following commodity price downwards, and the US airlines with exposure to winter storm cancellations also having a bad day.

Traders will be awaiting US weekly jobless data later this afternoon.

Stocks in Asia were lower overnight with the Nikkei falling 0.9% in Japan while the Hang Seng fell 0.8% in Hong Kong, and the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.4% on the day.

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