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European Stocks Seen Lower, Investors Watch Bernanke

European stocks are expected to open moderately lower on Friday following a lower open on Wall Street and a mixed session in Asia.

Close-up of a pen on stock price chart
Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

The major focus of the session will be Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech at the annual Jackson Hole meeting.

Bernanke, who will speak at 16:00 CET, will be the main focus of markets as investors wait to see if he will indicate the Fed is ready to use more unconventional measures to try and kick start the economy.

On Thursday Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig told CNBC that he does not believe a third round of quantitative easing is a good idea.

"I was not in favour of QE2, so it would be inconsistent on my part for me (to think) QE3 would be a good idea," Hoenig said in an interview with Steve Liesman.

Hoenig also made clear he is not in favour of the decision to promise low rates for an extended period.

CNBC will speak to Charles Plosser, the President of the Philadelphia Fed at 14:00 CET.

Economist Nouriel Roubini believes QE3 is coming, no matter what Bernanke says today.

In an interview with CNBC he said policy makers are running out of options.

"The reality is that we are headed toward a recession and we are running out of policy bullets," Roubini told CNBC in an interview.

"One of the few policy bullets left is more monetary policy easing or quantitative easing."

Late on Thursday regulators Spain, Italy, France and Belgium extended the short selling ban, saying that it was still necessary to calm market volatility.

The head of a leading hedge fund lobby group said the ban , aimed at curbing short-sellers, was misguided.

"Short-selling was not the reason bank share prices were under pressure and banning it has not relieved that pressure," said Andrew Baker, chief executive of the Alternative Investment Management Association in an interview with Reuters.

In Spain in the early hours the government put out a statement saying the main opposition party had agreed to add limits to public deficits and debt to the constitution.