Europe Markets

FTSE, CAC, DAX Seen Opening Mixed; All Eyes on Greece


European stocks were called to open mixed on Wednesday ahead of a crucial meeting in Greece between the Greek government and private creditors and an auction of short-term debt in Portugal.

Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

The FTSE is called 11 points lower, the DAX in Frankfurt is expected to be up by 2 points and the CAC 40 is called lower by 7 points.

In Asia overnight, shares and the euro were steady as the single currency pulled away from a 17-month low of around $1.2623 reached on Friday.

The Institute of International Finance (IIF) confirmed on Tuesday that managing director Charles Dallara and co-chairman of the private investor credit steering committee for Greece, Jean Lemierre would join discussions with the Greek government on Wednesday afternoon.

Private sector creditors are being represented by the IIF and Wednesday's meeting will be the latest attempt to reach a deal between private bondholders and the Greek government on how much investors are prepared to lose on their Greek debt holdings.

Talks broke down last week over the rate of interest on new bonds offered by Greece and failure to reach an agreement in coming weeks could lead to a Greek default by late March when 14.5 billion euros ($18.51 billion) of bond redemptions come due.

The World Bank warned on Tuesday that the world's poorest countries will face a slowdown in growth due to the debt crisis in Europe and sluggish economic growth in Brazil, India, Russia and Turkey.

The World Bank predicted growth of 2.5 percent for the global economy in 2012 and 3.1 percent in 2013, revised downwards from the 3.6 percent it predicted for this year and next, back in June.

The head of the European Union's competition watchdog, Joaquin Almunia said on Tuesday that more competition is needed between stock exchanges and expressed concerns over a proposed merger between NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse . Almunia said the EU would decide on whether to approve the merger soon.

Portugal will come into focus on Wednesday when the indebted euro zone country holds an auction of short term treasury bills.

The debt auction of around 2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in T-bills will be the biggest for Portugal since it was bailed out last year and follows successful debt sales in Spain and Italy.

The tender of 6 and 11-month bills is due to start at 10:30 London time. Germany will also hold a bond sale on Wednesday, tendering 4 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in December 2013 bonds, also at 10:30 London time .

The International Energy Agency (IEA) will release its oil market report from Paris at 9:00 London time.

In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron will meet his Italian counterpart Mario Monti ahead of a speech Monti is due to give on 'The EU in the Global Economy' at the London School of Economics on Wednesday evening.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Berlin at 10:45 UK time. The leaders are expected to discuss bilateral relations and European political, regional and economic issues.

UK monthly unemployment figures for December are due at 9:30 London time.