LONDON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - European stocks were set for a mixed open, albeit in a tight range, on Wednesday as investors balanced new gloomy economic data and uncertainty about Spain's debt crisis with underlying monetary support from central banks across the world.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100
to open 9 to 14 points lower, or as much as 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX
to open unchanged to up 8 points, or as much as 0.1 percent higher, and France's CAC-40 to open 6 to 8 points lower, or as much as 0.2 percent.
Denting sentiment on Wednesday was data showing China's official purchasing managers' index for the services sector fell in August, putting the world's second-largest economy on course for a seventh straight quarter of slowdown.
Weak basic resources demand from China was also reflected by figures showing Australia's trade deficit hit its widest in 3-1/2 years in August, as falling prices for iron ore and coal eroded export earnings. This came a day after the Reserve Bank of Australia's move to cut interest rates to defend the local economy against global headwinds.
Adding to investor caution, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy poured cold water on speculation Madrid was close to applying for a bailout, saying any request was not imminent. Madrid needs to ask for international help if it is to receive support from the European Central Bank.
"As markets wait for Spain to formally request bailout funds which in turn would trigger ECB peripheral bond purchases, patience is running thin," Credit Agricole said in a note.
"...economic data globally continue to remain troubling and as evidenced by the surprise rate cut from the RBA in Australia central banks are still pushing forward with easy policy to help cushion growth."
European shares have been slowly but steadily losing ground since hitting a 14-month high in mid-September as euphoria over global coordinated monetary stimulus was curbed by new data showing much of Europe was still mired in a recession and the Chinese economy was continuing to slow down.
Euro zone services data due on Wednesday was expected to suggest the area likely slipped back into recession in the current quarter, with the services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) seen at 46 and the composite PMI seen at 45.9, where a reading below 50 indicated contraction.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0529 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,445.75 0.09 % 1.26 NIKKEI 8,747.41 -0.44 % -38.64 MSCI ASIA 0.03 % 0.14 EX-JP EUR/USD 1.2895 -0.18 % -0.002 USD/JPY 78.22 0.1 % 0.0800 10-YR US 1.603 -- -0.02 TSY YLD 10-YR BUND 1.455 -- -0.01 YLD SPOT GOLD $1,773.94 -0.01 % -$0.20 US CRUDE $91.71 -0.2 % -0.18
> GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar firms on gloomy outlook
> Wall St slips on Spain, earnings worries
> Nikkei treads water as heavyweight gains offset Spain worries
> TREASURIES-Prices edge up, jobs data in focus
> Euro waits for Spain's move; Aussie hit by trade data
> Gold eases, but still near 2012 high on Spain caution
> Copper slips after four-day rise, economic woes drag
> Brent slips towards $111 as growth worries persist
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Toni Vorobyova)
Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE FACTORS