VIENNA (Alliance News) - European stocks are poised to open higher on Tuesday after reassuring data helped US stocks finish on a firm note overnight. An industry report showed growth in the US services sector rose at its fastest pace in eight months in April, adding to evidence that economic activity is regaining momentum after a harsh winter.
Growing optimism over the health of the world's largest economy helped spur buying in Asia, putting concerns about continued violence in Ukraine temporarily on the backburner. Four Ukrainian paramilitary police were killed and 30 wounded near the eastern town of Slaviansk on Monday, as government security forces resumed operations aimed at wresting control of the town from pro-Russian rebels, reports said. However, trading activity remains light in Asia amid market holidays in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3% after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept its target cash rate unchanged at 2.5%, as widely expected, for the eighth meeting in a row. China's Shanghai Composite Index is rising 0.2%, extending a three-day winning streak.
Closer home, investors eye service sector PMI numbers out of Europe, Eurozone retail sales figures and US trade data for further clues on the health of the global economy.
It seems that Europe is inching closer to a financial transaction tax on both equities and derivatives. "The taxation should be limited to shares in the initial stage and widened to cover derivatives at a later time," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said at the Eurogroup meeting that concluded on Monday.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will appear before lawmakers tomorrow to discuss the economic outlook and answer politicians' questions about the effects of the future path of monetary policy. In Europe, the European Central Bank and Bank of England will announce their latest policy decisions on Thursday.
In corporate news, Swiss lender Credit Suisse Group AG is close to reaching a deal with the US Justice Department to pay a penalty of more than USD1 billion and also secure a guilty plea to settle allegations that it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes, media reports suggest.
UBS AG said its first-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders rose to 1.054 billion Swiss francs from 988 million francs last year.
Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co., the dialysis care unit of German healthcare company Fresenius SE, posted 8.9% lower net income attributable to shareholders of USD205 million for the first quarter of 2014, versus USD225 million last year.
Symrise AG reported first-quarter net earnings of 51.9 million euros compared to 46.0 million euros in the year-ago period.
French cement maker Lafarge SA reported that its first-quarter net loss widened to 135 million euros from 117 million euros last year.
The major European markets ended mixed on Monday, with simmering tensions in Ukraine and soft manufacturing data out of China weighing on the markets. The German DAX slid 0.3%, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.1%. The UK market was closed for a holiday.
US stocks recovered from early losses to close modestly higher overnight, as the upbeat report on service sector activity offset concerns over escalating tensions in Ukraine and a negative reaction to quarterly results from Pfizer. The Dow edged up 0.1%, the Nasdaq rose 0.3% and the S&P 500 gained 0.2%.