VIENNA (Alliance News) - Stock futures point to a lower open on Tuesday following the previous session's rally. In the absence of any fresh triggers, investors will continue to watch geopolitical developments for direction.
Ukraine has agreed on a Red Cross-led humanitarian aid operation with Russia, the EU and other international partners despite Western warnings against using humanitarian help as a pretext for an invasion.
In news out of Iraq, US President Barack Obama signaled his support for the newly appointed Iraqi prime minister, saying that his appointment represents "a promising step forward" for the country that is battling insurgency and facing political crisis.
On the flip side, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he saw a "high probability" that Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine also claimed that Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, contrary to recent reports towards de-escalating tensions.
Investors will have a look at the German and Eurozone ZEW Economic Sentiment figures slated for release later in the day to gauge the potential impact of the ongoing geopolitical events on Europe's economic outlook. The US economic calendar is relatively light today, with no top-tier economic data set to be released.
Asian stocks are trading mostly higher, although gains remain capped following Monday's rally. US crude futures are hovering below USD98 a barrel after the US said its airstrikes have temporarily disrupted the advance of ISIS forces on the Kurdish centre of Erbil. Gold prices are also subdued as equities gain ground amid the general improvement in investors' risk appetite.
In economic releases, like-for-like retail sales in the UK fell 0.3% in July from a year earlier, the British Retail Consortium said, falling below forecasts for an increase of 0.9% following the 0.8% contraction in June.
In corporate news, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC is exploring options for the international arm of its Coutts private banking unit for millionaires, including a sale, as part of its efforts to renew focus on the UK home market, media reports suggest.
Fraport AG said its Frankfurt Airport home base has served almost 5.9 million passengers in July, up 2.3% compared to the same period last year.
Real estate lender Aareal Bank Group reported an increase in consolidated profit for the second quarter to 34 million euros from 21 million euros last year.
Evotec AG said its first-half 2014 Group EBITDA before changes in contingent consideration reached 0.6 million euros, compared with 0.5 million euros during the first six months of 2013.
The European markets rallied on Monday as tensions between Ukraine and Russia eased slightly and the US said its military operations in Iraq will be limited in their scope and duration. The German DAX climbed 1.9%, France's CAC 40 gained 1.2% and the UK'sFTSE 100 rose a percent.
US stocks rose overnight, extending Friday's rebound, as concerns eased over the tense situation in Ukraine and the Middle East and dovish comments from a top Federal Reserve official suggested that the Fed will keep interest rates low for a very long time.