By RTT News,
January 13, 2014, 02:23:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - European stocks are poised to open higher on Monday after weaker-than-estimated U.S. payrolls data increased speculation that the pace of stimulus tapering could possibly be a bit slower than expected. The tapering debate is currently centered on the pace of bond reduction rather than actual timing as many economists still believe that the Federal Reserve will go ahead with the slowing of QE purchases starting in January.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told reporters last week that he was more focused on the drop in the jobless rate last month than on the weak job numbers. Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said separately that it takes a lot more than the jobs report to change the U.S. economy's improving trend.
U.S. reports on retail sales, housing starts and inflation figures and a slew of speeches from Fed officials due this week may provide further clues on the strength of the U.S. recovery. Also, the U.S. earnings season picks up steam this week, with JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, UnitedHealth, Intel and General Electric among the companies due to report their quarterly results.
The Asian markets are trading mostly higher on speculation the Federal Reserve will not accelerate tapering in the wake of dismal U.S. jobs data. The U.S. dollar is weakening broadly versus major currencies and its Asian peers, lifting prices of commodities, including gold. The Japanese market is closed for a holiday.
In domestic corporate news, Volkswagen Group has reiterated its goal of selling 1 million Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in the United States annually by 2018.
Department stores operator Metro reported a 3.3 percent decline in sales for the first quarter, hurt by negative currency effects in many parts of Eastern Europe and Asia.
Symrise AG has increased its holdings in Probi AB to 30.03 percent, giving rise to an obligation to launch a mandatory public offer to all shareholders in Probi.
Sugar producer Suedzucker AG reported that its third-quarter net earnings attributable to shareholders decreased to 111.4 million euros from 112.6 million euros in the previous year.
Swiss drug maker Novartis AG said Herve Hoppenot, President of Novartis Oncology, would leave the company with immediate effect to pursue a career opportunity outside of the organization.
Total SA announced plans to invest about $50 million in the U.K. for exploration of shale gas, making the French energy giant the first major oil and gas company to invest in shale gas in the U.K.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an RNAi therapeutics company, and Genzyme, a Sanofi company, said they have formed a transformational alliance for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics as genetic medicines.
The European markets pared early gains on Friday, but still finished in positive territory at fresh five-year highs. The German DAX and France's CAC 40 gained about 0.6 percent each, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.7 percent.
U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday, as investors digested a surprisingly weak jobs report that showed hiring slowed sharply last month. The unemployment rate, however, fell to 6.7 percent, its lowest level since October of 2008, on the back of a drop in the participation rate. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent, but the Dow edged down marginally.
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