The major markets across Europe are expected to open lower on Tuesday morning, extending the losses from Monday, following a weaker closing on Wall Street, where investors took profits following a recent rally. Financial stocks declined after veteran banking analyst Mike Mayo of Calyon Securities initiated coverage of several banks with either Sell or Underperform ratings, citing concerns about increased loan losses and the belief that government actions might not help as much as expected. Technology stocks ended weak following the fallout of the talks between IBM and Sun Microsystems.
On Monday, the Dow closed down 41.74 points or 0.5% at 7,976, the Nasdaq closed down 15.16 points or 0.9% at 1,607 and the S&P 500 closed down 7.02 points or 0.8% at 835. In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.71% lower at 766 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.75% to 1,881 points. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index slipped 0.90% to 3,993, while France's CAC 40 index dropped 0.98% to 2,930 and Germany's DAX index fell 0.80% to 4,350.
Most Asian markets are trading in negative territory on Tuesday morning amid two key central bank decisions from the region. The Reserve Bank of Australia reduced rates by 0.25% to a 49-year low of 3% and the Bank of Japan kept its interest rates unchanged at 0.1%.
On the economic front, Eurostat is slated to release the second estimate of fourth quarter GDP. Analysts expect the GDP to fall 1.5% quarter-on-quarter and 1.3% year-on-year. The Office for National Statistics in the UK is expected to publish a report on industrial and manufacturing output. Industrial output is forecast to fall 1.2% month-on-month in February and 12.5% year-on-year. Manufacturing output is set to decline 1.5% from January and 14.2% from the previous year.
Among corporate news, Eni SpA, the largest oil company in Italy is likely to sign an agreement with OAO Gazprom, the biggest oil exporter in Russia. Delegates from the Italian company are in negotiations with their counterparts of OAO Gazprom in Moscow, where the deal is expected to be inked during the day.
In an effort to get the approval from the European Union for German state aid, the second biggest bank in Germany, Commerzbank AG is contemplating to sell either its Eastern European operations or Eurohypo commercial property unity.
The third largest oil company in Europe, Total SA is likely to postpone an investment decision related to the Joslyn permit of the Canadian oil sands, attributing higher costs as the primary reason. The company may either suspend or dismantle any pilot project in the region for the next few months on cost constraints.
Rio Tinto Alcan announced that it is planning to slow the construction of Yarwun alumina refinery expansion in Gladstone and curtail annual bauxite production at its Weipa mine due to a decline in alumina and aluminium demand and prices in recent months. The company said that the change to the construction schedule will result in revised completion date in the second half of 2012.
Intermediate Capital Group PLC (ICP.L), in a trading update for 12 months to 31 March 2009, said that it expects core income to be in line with market expectations.
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