Asian and European stocks wavered Thursday as traders digested recession risks and slowing inflation in the United States, and pored over earnings. US inflation slowed sharply in March to five percent, data showed Wednesday, but minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting indicated officials foresaw a recession at the end of the year. “Investors are weighing up an improving picture for US inflation… versus fears of a recession stateside,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at trading firm Interactive Investor. “US central bank policymakers are concerned about the negative economic fallout from the recent turmoil in the banking sector.” London stocks flatlined Thursday as data showed the UK economy unexpectedly stalled in February. UK supermarket giant Tesco topped the risers, gaining 2.4 percent as news of a share buyback eclipsed news that net profits halved at Britain’s biggest retailer last year on soaring inflation. In the eurozone, Frankfurt stocks drifted lower but Paris jumped 0.9 percent to strike a fresh record-high. Shares in French luxury giant LVMH leapt 4.1 percent after the maker of champagne and expensive fashion logged an “excellent” first quarter after the close of trading Wednesday. In the US, the inflation reading was the lowest since May 2021, sparking hope that the Fed could soon end its policy of aggressive interest rate hikes. Traders were awaiting the release of US wholesale inflation later Thursday. That will be followed by crucial first-quarter earnings on Friday from top banks including JPMorgan and Citibank. “For weeks it’s all about the trajectory of inflation and subsequent interest rate hikes for investors,” noted Nigel Green, head of financial consultancy deVere Group. “But the focus is now shifting to earnings season. “The big banks will be keenly watched as not only do they often set the mood music for the rest of the season, but also because they are more intricately linked to the rest of the economy than most other sectors,” Green added. Wall Street turned negative Wednesday after the Fed minutes, that highlighted fears over the impact of last month’s banking crisis in which three US lenders went bust and Credit Suisse was taken over. Asian markets ended mixed Thursday after a downbeat start.