News Column

European Stocks Seen Largely Unchanged

May 28, 2014

VIENNA (Alliance News) - European stocks are seen opening flat on Thursday amid continued speculation the European Central Bank will ease policy when its governing council meets on June 5. Sovereign bonds across Europe rose yesterday after weak German employment readings and euro zone money supply data reinforced expectations the ECB will announce modest easing steps next week to counter low inflation.

"The governing council is comfortable acting with both conventional and unconventional measures," ECB executive board member Yves Mersch said on Wednesday.

Looking ahead, investors await a slew of US reports on weekly jobless claims, pending home sales and first-quarter GDP growth due out later in the day for further clues on Fed policy.

Asian stocks are turning in a lackluster performance amid lack of any positive triggers. Japanese shares were little changed after official data showed the country's retail sales fell 4.4% in April from a year earlier, marking the fastest annual decline since the March 2011 earthquake.

South Korea's Kospi average dropped 0.3% after central bank data showed the nation's current account surplus narrowed in April but remained in the black for the 26th straight month on the back of strong exports of cars and steel products.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2% and the markets in Hong Kong and New Zealand were little changed, while China's Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.2%.

US crude futures are modestly higher near USD103 a barrel ahead of a government inventory report that is expected to show an increase in stockpiles.

In news out of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of pushing Ukraine into a 'fratricidal war' and reiterated his call for an end to Kiev's military offensive.

The major European markets ended virtually unchanged on Wednesday amid a lack of upside catalysts after stocks across Europe hit a six-year high in the previous session. France's CAC 40 and the UK'sFTSE 100 inched up marginally, but the German DAX dipped 0.02% from a record high pressured by disappointing German employment figures.

The US markets ended a choppy session slightly lower overnight, as investors paused for breath after four straight sessions of gains amid a lack of major US economic data and as benchmark Treasury yields fell to lows not seen since last summer, defying most forecasts. The Dow and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped about 0.3% each, while the S&P 500 edged down 0.1%.

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Source: Alliance News

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