By RTT News,
December 16, 2013, 02:08:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - European stocks are seen opening on a cautious note Monday, extending two weeks of declines, as investors await a two-day meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve starting tomorrow for clues on the timing of stimulus tapering. The Fed is widely expected to keep its large-scale asset purchase program unchanged, but traders will scrutinize the accompanying statement for any signals regarding future tapering.
Besides the Fed meeting, a slew of U.S. reports on industrial production, housing starts, existing home sales and regional manufacturing activity due this week will shed further light on whether the U.S. economy is strong enough for the Fed to begin tapering.
The Asian markets are broadly lower amid caution ahead of this week's FOMC meeting and as data showed China's manufacturing sector activity declined to a three month low in December. Preliminary results published by Markit Economics revealed that the HSBC purchasing managers' index fell to 50.5 from 50.8 in November.
Closer home, Rightmove's latest monthly report showed that it expects asking prices for a property in the U.K. to rise by up to 8 percent next year unless the growing demand is countered by sufficient supply. The market needs to redress 2013's imbalance of 2 percent rise in new listings versus 13 percent jump in transactions, the online real estate portal said after reporting a 1.9 percent fall in the average asking price in the traditionally weak month of December.
The Markit household finance index, which measures households' overall perceptions of their financial well-being, rose slightly to 39.7 in December from a seven-month low of 38.8 in November.
Looking ahead, PMI data from major European economies and Eurozone trade data for October are slated for release later in the session.
European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen announced Sunday that he would quit his job to take up a new job in Angela Merkel's coalition government, depriving ECB of one of its key policymakers at a time when the euro area is climbing a thorny path to recovery. He will now serve as the Deputy Labor Minister in the new German government.
In corporate news, copper producer Aurubis AG reported that its fourth-quarter net income decreased 16 percent to 57 million euros from 68 million euros a year ago.
French automaker Renault SA and China'sDongfeng Motor have signed a contract for the creation of a new 50-50 joint venture company for localized production in China.
The European markets edged down marginally on Friday, as steep losses in shares of Peugeot and RSA offset tentative signs of bargain hunting. The German DAX and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both slipped about 0.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 shed 0.2 percent.
U.S. stocks ended Friday's session on a lackluster note after the House of Representatives approved a bipartisan budget deal that would avert another government shutdown but raised the prospects of Fed tapering. The Dow and the Nasdaq inched up about 0.1 percent each, while the S&P 500 edged down marginally.
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