European markets head for lower open, shrugging off positive PMI data

Defense manufacturer Rheinmetall raises expectations on war demand boost Germany’s Rheinmetall raised its sales expectations for 2025, according to Chief Executive Armin Papperger. The CEO told Stern magazine he expects sales to grow to between 11 billion euros ($11.9 billion) and 12 billion euros in 2025 up from between 10 billion euros to 11 billion euros in November. Rheinmetall has supplied Ukraine with the likes of air defense systems and military trucks for use in its fight against Russia, and is also involved in the production of the Leopard tanks currently being requested by Ukraine. Shares of Rheinmetall hit an all-time high in March 2022 and have remained high since Russia invaded Ukraine. Shares hit a session high of $226.50 around 9:30 am London time Tuesday.— Hannah Ward-GlentonCNBC Pro: Analysts like this indie game developer—with one bank saying it could soar over 200%Shares of an indie video game developer are set to rise by more than 200%, according to Berenberg, which said the company provided a “very encouraging” 2023 outlook. The investment bank isn’t the only one that likes the developer — although it’s the most bullish. The consensus price target of six analysts covering the stock indicates a potential upside of over 70%, according to FactSet data. All but one have a buy rating on the company’s shares. CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.— Ganesh RaoFlash PMIs: UK suffers sharp January contraction in activityIn contrast to the euro zone’s apparent revival in business activity in January, flash PMI (purchasing managers ‘ index) readings from the UK Tuesday showed the economy contracted at its sharpest rate in two years. The S&P Global composite UK PMI, which encompasses services and manufacturing, slid to 47.8 in January from 49.0 in December, falling short of a 48.5 consensus forecast in a Wall Street Journal poll of economists. S&P Global said widespread strike action, staff shortages, export losses, the cost of living crisis and sharp increases in interest rates all combined to squeeze economic activity.- Elliot Smith Flash PMIs: Euro zone business activity returns to growth in JanuaryThe euro zone economy returned to modest growth in December, according to new flash PMI (purchasing managers’ index) readings on Tuesday.The S&P G lobal euro zone composite PMI, which encompasses manufacturing and services activity, came in at 50.2 in January, up from 49.3 in December and ahead of a consensus forecast of 49.8. The index exceeded the 50 mark, which separates expansion from contraction, for the first time since June. The euro zone’s dominant services sector index rose to 50.7 from 49.8 in December, while the manufacturing index improved to 48.8 from 47.8, also surpassing forecasts but remaining in contractionary territory.- Elliot SmithEuropean markets: Here are the opening callsEuropean markets are heading for a negative open Wednesday. The UK’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 2 points lower at 7,765, Germany’s DAX 28 points lower at 15,070, France’s CAC down 8 points at 7,040 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 65 points lower at 25,888, according to data from IG. There are no major earnings releases today, but market participants will be keeping an eye on the latest Ifo business climate survey from Germany.— Holly Ellyatt

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