Europe Economy

FTSE, CAC 40, DAX to Open Lower; Fed Decision Disappoints


European stocks were called to open lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve offered no new stimulus measures at its final meeting of the year and doubts over the euro zone persist.

Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

The FTSE is called 40 points lower, the DAX in Frankfurt is expected to open lower by 37 points and the CAC 40is called lower by 22 points.

In Asia overnight shares fell and the euro plummeted to an 11-month low tracking Wall Street where shares dipped following the Fed meeting on Tuesday.

America's central bank offered no new growth measures to stimulate the US economy and despite modest growth, the Fed warned the euro zone crisis continues to pose a big risk.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced late on Tuesday that it had revised Greek GDP projections for 2012 downwards, but the IMF added it was hopeful that a deal with private bondholders of Greek debt would ease the nation's debt obligations.

Greek GDP was on course to have contracted by 6 percent in 2011 according to the IMF, compared to a Greek projection of a 3 percent contraction.

Bond yields are expected to reach record highs on Wednesday when an auction of five-year Italian bonds takes place.  Fiscal measures agreed by European leaders in Brussels last Friday have done little to ease borrowing costs for the euro zone's most troubled economies and Wednesday could see yields on outstanding Italian debt climb above 6.3 percent.

The auction is due to take place from 10:00am London time and a sale of 2-year German bunds will also commence at 10:00am.

Italy's lower chamber of parliament will meet on Friday to begin discussions on Prime Minister Mario Monti's austerity measures.  Debate on the measures is expected to start at 9:00am London time.

In Vienna, OPEC countries will meet to discuss oil production targets after they failed to reach an agreement at their last meeting in June.  Dow Jones reported late on Tuesday that attendees at an OPEC advisory committee meeting had agreed to maintain oil output at current levels, according to three anonymous sources.

OPEC officials have in recent days hinted that output would remain unchanged at around 30 million barrels of oil a day.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to give a statement to the German Bundestag on Wednesday on last week's summit of European leaders and their decision to adopt a Franco-German plan for greater fiscal unity within the euro zone.

Economic data to watch includes UK monthly unemployment figures at 9:30am UK time and industrial production data for the European Union, available from 10:00am.

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