Europe Markets

FTSE, DAX, CAC to Open Higher, Euro Zone Watched

European stocks were called to open higher on Thursday after ending the day down on Wednesday led by the banking sector where fears are growing that euro zone lenders might fail to meet tough new capital rules and counter their exposure to euro zone debt.

Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 12-13 points higher, or up as much as 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX to open 3-9 points higher, or up as much as 0.2 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open around 4 points higher, or 0.1 percent.

In Asia overnight, shares and the euro eased amid lingering concerns that indebted euro zone countries will not manage to refinance their public debt and ahead of non-farm payrolls data from the US due on Friday.

The common currency hovered close to record lows against the yen and the Australian dollar and against the US dollar the euro fell to a session low of $1.2938 before recovering slightly.

Crude oil prices stayed around $103 a barrel on Thursday after an EU official announced that European governments had agreed "in principle" to ban oil imports from Iran. No date has been set for an embargo by the European Union.

France will be in focus on Thursday when it holds a bond auction a day after Germany sold 4.06 billion euros ($5.3 billion) of 10-year government bonds.

Although the German auction drew greater demand from investors than a previous sale in November where interest was anemic, subdued interest highlighted investor concerns over Germany's association with the troubled euro zone.

The French auction will take place at 9:50am London time with 7-8 billion euros ($9-10 billion) worth of October 2021 and April 2026 bonds on offer.

The Spanish government led by newly elected Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to announce a fresh round of tax hikes and austerity measures on Thursday in an effort to prevent the euro zone's fourth largest economy from having to seek an EU/IMF bailout.

Rajoy has already proposed spending cuts of 9 billion euros ($11.6 billion) and tax increases worth around 6 billion euros ($7.7 billion) as well as a commitment to reduce the number of public sector jobs.

Key economic data out of Europe on Thursday includes retail sales data from Germany at 7:00am UK time and a consumer confidence survey from France at 7:45am.

The European Union will release PPI figures for November at 10:00am London time.

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