VIENNA (Alliance News) - European stocks are seen opening lower on Friday, extending the previous session's sell-off, as investors remain wary about growing geopolitical risks in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Both the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russia separatists denied any responsibility for downing a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane that was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday. According to media reports, US intelligence officials have concluded the plane was shot down but were divided over the origin.
Meanwhile, Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum warned Israel against consequences saying the Israeli occupation authorities will pay dearly for the ground operation launched by the army on Gaza Strip Thursday night.
The Asian markets are broadly lower, with Japanese shares pacing the declines, as rising geopolitical tensions spurred demand for safe-haven assets. The Japanese yen hit a five-month high versus the euro while gold eased slightly after gaining 1.4% on Thursday. US crude futures are trading firm above USD103 a barrel after climbing by more than USD2 overnight.
In economic releases, the UK's house price sentiment index, an indicator of house price trends, came in at 62.4 in July, marking the sixteenth consecutive month of increase in house prices but down slightly from 62.5 in the previous month, a survey by Knight Frank and Markit Economics showed.
Eurozone current account figures as well as US reports on consumer sentiment and leading economic indicators may influence trading sentiment as the day progresses.
On the earnings front, Google's shares gained in after-hours trading despite its second-quarter profit falling short of estimates. Computing services giant IBM reported quarterly revenue and earnings per share that slightly exceeded analysts' expectations. General Electric and Honeywell are due to publish their quarterly results before the US opening bell.
In domestic corporate news, Italian automaker Fiat SpA denied media reports that it has held talks with German auto giant Volkswagen AG regarding a potential merger.
Mobile network equipment maker LM Ericsson Telephone Co. said that its second-quarter net income climbed 76% to 2.7 billion Swedish kronor from 1.5 billion kronor last year.
US-based AbbVie Inc. and Irish drug company Shire PLC. are likely to announce their USD53 billion merger as early as Friday, media reports suggest.
European stocks fell broadly on Thursday, with losses accelerating in late trading as investors fled riskier assets amid fresh geopolitical worries. The German DAX dropped 1.1%, France's CAC 40 fell 1.2% and the FTSE 100 of the UK shed 0.7%.
US stocks fell sharply overnight amid geopolitical concerns after the US and EU imposed fresh sanctions against Russia and a Malaysian airliner crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine, with Kiev saying the aircraft was shot down by militants. Israel launched a ground incursion into Gaza, adding to risk aversion.
Investors also digested mixed economic reports, with housing starts and building permits unexpectedly falling in June while manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area came in better than expected. The Dow fell 0.9%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 1.4% and the S&P 500 shed 1.2%.