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European Stocks Seen Inching Higher
[August 18, 2014]

European Stocks Seen Inching Higher

(Alliance News Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) VIENNA (Alliance News) - European stocks are seen opening slightly higher on Monday, with trading likely to be in a tight range on a light day on the economic front. Global cues remain lackluster, with US shares erasing early losses to end Friday's session on a mixed note, while Asian stocks are fluctuating between gains and losses.

The safe-haven strengthened in Asian deals as investors keep a wary eye on the latest developments in Ukraine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday called on Moscow to respond to reports that tanks and troops had crossed from Russia into eastern Ukraine in support of separatist rebels, her office said in a statement.

The US on Sunday launched fresh airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq to support Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense forces.

The second round of talks among the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, the Federal Republic of Germany, and France in Berlin yielded little results so far, though there has been some progress on some points on how to bring about a cease-fire in Ukraine.

In economic releases, the average asking price for a house in the UK dropped 2.9% to 262,401 pounds in August from the previous month, the largest ever recorded for August, as the market calmed in London and sellers adopted a "summer sales" attitude, property tracking website Rightmove said on Monday. On a yearly basis, house prices rose 5.3% - slowing from the 6.5% increase in the previous month.

The Bank of England would not wait for real wages to rise before raising bank rate from its current 0.50% level, Governor Mark Carney said in an interview. "We have to have the confidence that real wages are going to be growing gradually" before raising rates, he told the Sunday Times.

Eurozone trade figures are slated for release later in the day, with economists expecting the trade surplus to decrease to EUR 14.9 billion in June from EUR 15.4 billion in May.

Across the Atlantic, traders will likely keep an eye on reports on consumer price inflation, housing starts and existing home sales this week for further cues on monetary policy. Further policy hints might come in the form of the minutes of the July 29-30 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, slated for release on Wednesday.

In domestic corporate news, German Internet service provider United Internet AG announced that it has acquired a 10.7% stake in Rocket Internet AG for 435 million euros.

Roche Holding AG is in talks to buy the almost 40% stake in Japan's Chugai Pharmaceutical Co that it does not already own for about USD10 billion, the Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Italian phone carrier Telecom Italia SpA is said to be mulling a rival bid of as much as 7 billion euros or USD9.4 billion, to enter the race to acquire Paris-based Vivendi S.A.'s Brazilian Internet provider GVT S.A., according to a Bloomberg report.

Swiss lender Credit Suisse Group AG helped sell billions of dollars of securities that ultimately had a role in upsetting Portuguese bank Banco Espirito Santo or BES, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The European markets wiped out earlier gains to end firmly in the red on Friday following reports that Ukrainian forces attacked Russian military vehicles that had entered the country. The Russian government, however, denied the claims and has accused the Ukrainian government of trying to block efforts to provide humanitarian aid. The German DAX fell 1.4%, France's CAC 40 slid 0.7% and the UK's FTSE 100 slipped 0.1%.

US stocks ended a choppy session mixed on Friday, as investors digested a mixed batch of economic data and kept a wary eye on Ukraine. Inflationary pressures remained modest across the economy in July, official data showed, easing market worries the Fed may raise interest rates soon. Industrial production edged higher in July while consumer confidence unexpectedly declined to a nine-month low in August, separate reports showed. The Dow slid 0.3% and the S&P 500 ended nearly flat, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.3%.

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX

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