Morning Bid: Growth pangs linger

Containers are seen at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in Shanghai, China February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Anshuman Daga

While global stocks are still hovering near multi-month highs, despite a batch of bad economic data from China, worries about a sharp slowdown in growth are keeping them rangebound.

There's near consensus that China's unexpected move to ease borrowing costs to shore up its faltering economy - hobbled by Beijing's zero-COVID policy - will remain a symbolic move.

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Some economists have already pared down their growth projections.

Unless investors see any signs of upturn in the world's second-largest economy, it's hard to see global equities marching upwards, though signs of cooling inflation have prompted hopes of less aggressive Fed tightening.

The message from some corporate chiefs however remains bullish.

BHP's (BHP.AX) CEO Mike Henry expects China to emerge as a source of stability for commodity demand in the year ahead and highlighted policy support, after the world's biggest miner posted its strongest profit in 11 years. read more

For now, growth worries are providing some much-needed respite from soaring commodity prices. Oil, the best performing asset class so far this year, is heading lower.

Brent crude futures stayed weak on Tuesday after retreating to their lowest in the previous session since before Russia sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Meanwhile, Ukraine called for new sanctions on Russia and highlighted the risks and consequences of a catastrophe at Europe's biggest nuclear plant. read more

Europe is facing soaring energy bills this year, driven by a global surge in wholesale power and gas prices.

Benchmark European gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub have more than trebled this year, partly following supply disruption linked to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. read more

European stock futures pointed to a steady start for markets, with Asian stocks underpinned by gains on Wall Street.

Key developments that could influence markets on Tuesday:

Economic data: UK unemployment and average earnings; German ZEW survey; U.S. building permits and housing starts, and industrial production.

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Reporting by Anshuman Daga Editing by Vidya Ranganathan

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