Europe Markets

FTSE, DAX, CAC to Open Lower; Greece Warns on Bailout

European stocks were called to open lower on Wednesday despite positive economic data from the US and Europe boosting global exchanges on Tuesday and the euro holding onto overnight gains in Asia as Greece warned it could leave the euro zone by April.

Financial spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE 100 to open 9 to 17 points lower, or as much as 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX to open 22 to 28 points lower, or as much as 0.5 percent, and France's CAC 40to open 16 to 18 points lower, or as much as 0.6 percent.

Better-than-expected manufacturing data out of the US prompted a rally in Europe and on Wall Street as confidence over the pace and possibility of a recovery in the US economy grew.  There was positive jobs data out of Germany, with unemployment levels dipping to their lowest since reunification and the UK also reported improved manufacturing output data.

The euro enjoyed its biggest one-day rally in close to two months following the positive US data as investors adjusted the bearish positions they had taken on the common currency in the final months of 2011.

But later on Tuesday a government spokesman warned Greece could leave the euro zone if it fails to clinch a deal on a second, 130 billion euro ($169.3 billion) bailout with its international lenders.

It was an unusually stark and public warning from the embattled country, aimed at shoring up domestic support for tough measures and possibly also at the lenders themselves.

"The bailout agreement needs to be signed otherwise we will be out of the markets, out of the euro," spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told Skai TV. "The situation will be much worse."

Elsewhere, the US Federal Reserve announced that it will begin issuing benchmark interest rate forecasts later this month when policymakers expect the first rate rise to occur.

Attention will turn to Germany on Wednesday as it holds the first significant euro zone bond auction of 2012 at 10:30am UK time; up to 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) worth of 10-year bonds will be on offer.

A swathe of service sector data from Europe is also due on Wednesday, with France reporting at 8:50am, followed by Germany at 8:55am and the euro zone at 9:00am.

Corporate releases to watch include a fourth quarter trade release from high street retailer Next and a five week trading update for the Christmas period from John Lewis and its food division, Waitrose.

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