Europe Economy

FTSE, CAC 40, DAX to Open Lower; North Korean Leader Dies


European stocks were called to open lower on Monday tracking overnight trade in Asia where stocks were hit by fears of possible ratings downgrades in Europe and the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong il.

Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

The FTSE is called 47 points lower, the DAX in Frankfurt is expected to down by 107 points and the CAC 40 is called lower by 54 points.

The death of Kim Jong il is likely to lead to political uncertainty within Asia; the US dollar rose following the news and the South Korean Kospi led the region's falls dropping by as much as 4 percent.

The Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite indexes were also down around 2 percent and the Nikkei fell by around 0.8 percent.

A warning by credit rating agency Fitch on Friday that it may downgrade the credit rating of France and six other euro zone nations continues to weigh on investor sentiment and Fitch's comments that an effective solution to the debt crisis in Europe was "technically and politically impossible" saw a flight from riskier assets in Asian trading.

In his first interview with the Financial Times since becoming head of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi warned against the ECB buying large quantities of government bonds as a way of stimulating growth in the euro zone.

Draghi told the FT the most important objective was to "restore the trust of the people – citizens as well as investors – in our continent" adding: "We won't achieve that by destroying the credibility of the ECB."

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will arrive in Britain on Monday for talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Relations between the UK and the European Union soured after British Prime Minister David Cameron refused to sign Britain up for a treaty change at an EU summit in Brussels on December 9.

Westerwelle said the discussions would focus mainly on the problems engulfing the euro zone, but the political situation in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program were also on the agenda.

British newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that EU ministers are set to ask the UK to contribute 30.9 billion euros ($40.3 billion) to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package to ease euro zone economies.

According to the newspaper, EU officials will ask Britain for the contribution when finance ministers hold a conference call to discuss a 200 billion euro ($260 billion) bailout fund.

The IMF's executive board will discuss finance arrangements with Portuguese officials on Monday following a bailout of the country by the IMF and EU earlier this year.

In the UK, Chancellor George Osborne will give a statement to the House of Commons after the government publishes its response to the final report of the Independent Commission on Banking, chaired by Sir John Vickers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said on Sunday that the government plans to implement the report's recommendations in full, including plans to separate the retail and investment operations of major banks.  Osborne is due to speak in Parliament at around 3:30pm UK time.

Corporate releases include Deutsche Boerse's quarterly review of equity indexes, including the DAX, MDAX, SDAX and TecDAX with changes effective from Monday.

Euronext will also announce changes to the CAC and SBF indexes on Monday and the FTSE UK Index will begin its first day of trading since implementing quarterly review changes.

British retailer HMV will announce first half results on Monday.

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