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Europe Stocks Seen Up Ahead of Central Banks' Decisions

European stocks were expected to open higher on Thursday after ending Wednesday lower as the Moody's downgrade of Portugal's sovereign credit ratingto "junk" status renewed concerns over euro zone debt, ahead of interest rate decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

Britain's FTSE 100 was seen opening as much as 25 points, or 0.4 percent, higher on Thursday, according to financial bookmakers, recouping the previous session's decline in tandem with overnight gains on Wall Street and in Asia.
Germany’s DAX is predicted to be up by 40 points to 7471 and the CAC 40 in France is called 17 points higher at 3978.

London’s FTSE closed down 21.11 points on Wednesday to 6002.92; the DAX was down 8.25 points to 7431.19 and France’s CAC 40 ended the day 17.28 points lower at 3961.34.

In the US, stocks ended the day up on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to Friday's monthly employment report, which is expected to show modest gains, and earnings season which begins next week.

However, bank shares were down in US trading after Moody's said almost a third of European banks being tested for their resilience in bad markets may need extra support.

Most Asian markets posted slight gains on Thursday after the rise on Wall Street and as investors looked beyond the latest nervousness over the euro zone debt crisis.

The Shanghai Composite opened up 0.1 percent after the People's Bank of China announced an interest rate increase late on Wednesday.

The euro remained near one-week lows against the dollar in Asia on Thursday, as worries about the euro zone seemed to outweigh an expected interest rate hike by the ECB.

The single currency was last at $1.4324, having reached a trough of around $1.4283 overnight.

Against the Swiss franc , the euro reached a low of around 1.1958 francs before recovering slightly to 1.2027.

The European Central Bank will announce its interest rate decision at 12:45 London time, followed by a press conference which is scheduled for 1:30 pm.

The ECB is expected to raise rates from 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent.

The Bank of England will announce the UK interest rate decision at 12:00 and is expected to hold rates at a historic low of 0.5 percent.

In the United States, shareholders of NYSE Euronext will hold a meeting to vote on a potential merger with Deutsche Boerse.

Economic data out on Thursday includes UK industrial production figures for May at 9:30 UK time, followed by Germany's industrial production data at 11:00.

Greek CPI data for June will be out on Thursday at 10:00 and Air France KLM will release its traffic data at 7:00 London time.

Contact Europe: Economy

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