Europe Markets

Europe Shares Seen Inching Higher in Thin Trade with Reuters

European stocks were set to open higher on Tuesday following the long Christmas weekend, helped by a late rally on Wall Street on Friday where better-than-expected macro data helped the S&P 500 turn positive on the year.

Better than expected US jobless claims figures last week suggested the recovery in the world’s largest economy was beginning to gather pace. Claims figures fell to 364,000, the lowest level since April 2008, the second week in a row that the figures were better than expected.

US stocks were also boosted by a deal in Congress on a payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans.

Investors awaited the U.S. Conference Board's December consumer confidence, with economists in a Reuters survey expecting a reading of 58.3 compared with 56.0 in November, as well as the S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index for October.

Spread-betters expect Frankfurt's DAX to open around 18 points higher , or up 0.3 percent, and Paris' CAC 40 to open 10 points higher , or up 0.3 percent. UK markets will remain closed on Tuesday.

European stock indexes have underperformed their U.S. peers this year, with the euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index down 18 percent , the DAX down 14.9 percent, the CAC 40 down 18.5 percent and the FTSE 100 down 6.6 percent .

The Italian government is set to hold further bond auctions on Wednesday and Thursday this week.