Europe to Follow Asia, Open Higher

European stocks look set to start the week in positive territory, following Asian shares that rose as investors digested the ongoing Japan nuclear crisis and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.


According to BGC Partners, the UK's FTSE 100 index will open 46 points higher at 5,764, while Germany's DAX index could increase 76 points to 6,740, and France's CAC index may rise 35 points to 3,845.

The euro hit four-month highs against the dollar as euro-zone leaders looked set to officially agree on details of bolstering a bailout fund at the March 24-25 EU summit.

Oil was trading higher, with Brent crude up 1.5 percent after Western forces launched a second wave of air strikes on Libya early on Monday.

In corporate news, U.S. telecom giant AT&T has said it will buy Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA in a $39 billion cash-and-stock transaction.

European shares on ended Friday higher, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares closing 0.2 percent higher at 1,089.19 points.

With no macroeconomic data set for release Monday, investors are yearning for clarity on a number of geopolitical issues which dominated headlines last week and held markets hostage.

The question now is how to price in the impact on the global economy of Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear breakdown, as well as increasing violence in oil-rich Arab countries.

The worsening nuclear crisis and the potential for Japanese investors to pull money back from world markets will continue to fuel concerns.

Investors will also hope for some calm in currencies, which went on a rollercoaster ride last week, culminating in central bank interventionto stem the yen's gains to help Japan.

Euro zone debt issues will take center stage at the end of the week at a European Union Summit.

Last week, Portugal's prime minister pleaded with opposition lawmakers to support his minority government's latest austerity measures which seek to avoid a bailout for the debt-heavy country.

Moody's last week cut Portugal's rating by two notches, and the country saw yields rise at a treasury bill auction.