European shares are called to open lower as the Greek political crisis weighs on investor sentiment. Greek political parties failed to form a government on Tuesday, opening the door to fresh elections in June, which could result in the country leaving the euro zone.
The FTSE 100 is called to open lower by 53 points at the open, while the DAX is seen opening lower by 38 points and the French CAC 19 points lower.
Europe’s debt crisis fears dragged down markets in Asia and the U.S. overnight and also hit gold, with the precious metal falling to a four and a half month low. Greek politicians meet later on Wednesday to form a caretaker government that will lead the country to another election next month.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde told French television that any Greek exit from the euro zone must be orderly if efforts to keep it within the zone fail.
The crisis has already led to Greek depositors withdrawing 700 million euros ($890 million) from Greek banks, the country’s president said.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted newly sworn in French President Francois Hollande, and the two put on a unified front, insisting they want Greece to remain in the euro zone. The leaders said they would work on forming a plan to boost growth within the bloc.
Facebook raised the price range of its initial public offering, as many had predicted, underscoring investors’ huge appetite for the social network, despite concerns among some about the company’s ability to generate revenue in the long term.
The Bank of England quarterly inflation report is released Wednesday, with the bank’s governor, Sir Mervyn King, expected to cut the growth forecast for the UK and outline prospects for inflation.
Bond auctions on Wednesday include France, which will tender up to 8 billion euros in 2, 3, 4 and 5- year bonds at 9:50 a.m. BST (4:50 a.m. New York time) and Germany, which will tender 5 billion euros in 10-year bonds at 10:30 a.m. BST (5:30 a.m. New York time).