Europe Economy

FTSE, DAX, CAC Called Up as GDP Figures Awaited


European markets were expected to open slightly higher on Wednesday ahead of a number of important economic growth figures.

The FTSE 100 was called 6 points higher at the open, while the DAX was expected to open 40 points lower and the CAC 40 up 32 points.

France, Germany and Italy will all release preliminary fourth-quarter gross domestic product figures for 2011 Wednesday morning. The overall euro zone GDP figure, also released on Wednesday morning, is expected to show that the region's economy contracted in the last three months of 2011.

Worries over Greece will continue to weigh the market after a key euro zone meeting on Greece's bailout was canceled Tuesday night.

The Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers has called off a planned face-to-face meeting on Wednesday, saying that the Greek government had not provided the required written commitments to push through its new austerity package. 

There will be a busy reporting day, with 2011 results from BNP Paribas, which will be watched for any indication of the health of the French banking system. Danone, Heineken and Clariant also report results.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended President Barack Obama's tax cut plans, saying that corporate tax reform would end "dozens and dozens" of tax breaks for businesses.

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