European Stocks Seen Up Ahead of Brussels Meeting

European stocks were seen slightly rising on Tuesday, inching higher for a second day in a row, with global miner Rio Tinto in focus afterposting record iron ore output.

Sharon Lorimer

European shares ended flat on Monday, with banks among the top fallers, as investors traded cautiously ahead of the outcome of a euro zone finance ministers meeting aimed at discussing changes to the bloc's rescue fund.

EU finance ministers meet in Brussels on Tuesday following the meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday evening.

The meeting comes amid continuing concern in financial markets about Spain and Portugal's finances.

Spain scrapped a long-term debt auction on Monday in favor of a bond sale via banks, while Belgium also said it wouldseek to issue a new bond, most likely for 10 years, through a syndicate of banks.

Spain will however try to raise between 5 billion and 6 billion euros of 12- and 18-month treasury bills on Tuesday.

Among macroeconomic data due out on Tuesday are UK inflation figures for December as well as Spanish industrial orders and turnover for November.

Germany's ZEW institute is set to publish its economic sentiment survey, which will provide an indication of the health of the euro zone's largest economy.

Commodities investors will turn their attention to the IEA's oil market report. Oil slipped on Monday while the dollar strengthened and equities faltered as OPEC said the market was well supplied and inventories should climb in the first half of the year.

Investors will also keep an eye on Apple, which will release results for its fiscal first quarter after US markets close on Tuesday.

The company announced on Monday, when US markets were closed, that its CEO and founder Steve Jobs would be taking a medical leave of absence, sending Apple shares trading in Frankfurt sharply lower.