RTTNews - The European index futures point towards a positive opening on Wednesday following sharp losses in the previous two sessions. That said, undertone could remain cautious ahead of the release of a slew of economic reports from across the world.
After witnessing a steady trend in the past two sessions, Asian stocks ended mostly lower on Wednesday on profit taking, as investors awaited the outcome of the 2-day rate-setting meeting by the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee.
The quarterly Inflation Report from the Bank of England and the British labor market statistics are among the economic reports scheduled to be released in Europe. The UK claimant count rate is seen at 4.9% in July, up from 4.8% in June. Meanwhile, the number of people claiming allowances is expected to rise 28,000. The jobless rate based on ILO standards for three months to June period is seen at 7.7%.
On Wall Street, the major U.S. indexes ended down over 1% each on Tuesday with traders going in for profit taking ahead of key economic data due out in the second half of the week. On the economic front, traders largely shrugged off the Labor Department's report showing a much bigger than expected increase in productivity in the second quarter.
Crude oil prices finished below $70 per barrel on Tuesday as traders braced for what is expected to be a bearish inventory report. Lower stocks also raised concerns for energy demand. Light sweet crude for September delivery settled at $69.45, down $1.15 on the session. In Asian trading on Wednesday, the commodity is trading mostly unchanged on the back of a surprise crude stock drawdown in weekly inventory. The American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. crude stockpiles declined 1.42 million barrels to 348.5 million last week.
In corporate news, luxury clothing company Escada AG will hold a board meeting today to discuss a plan to file for insolvency proceedings after bondholders rejected to swap old bonds for new notes and shares.
German airport operator Fraport AG said Wednesday it handled 7.7 million passengers at its airports in July compared to 8.5 million in the year-ago period.
Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle SA reported a first-half net profit of 5.07 billion Swiss francs in the first half of 2009, down 2% from the year-ago period.
Dental implant maker Nobel Biocare Holding AG reported a better-than-expected EUR28.2 million net profit for the second quarter ended June from Eur24.3 million in the year-ago period.
Money manager Vontobel Holding AG reported a better-than-expected net profit of 62.4 million Swiss francs for the first half of 2009, but assets under management fell to 65 billion francs from 74 billion francs a year earlier.
Micro Focus International plc said its trading outlook across the Group remains broadly in line with management expectations following the first quarter. Also the company is confident that the first quarter will provide the platform for a solid first half year performance
TUI Travel plc reported nine-month loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of GBP 305 million, compared to loss attributable to ordinary shareholders of GBP 524 million last year.
SOCO International plc said its six-month pre-tax profit was $45.7 million versus a loss of $0.60 million in the prior year period.
AM MCB Bank said it signed agreements, under which MCB Bank will acquire 99.37% of the ordinary share capital in Royal Bank of Scotland Ltd. from its major shareholder ABN Amro Bank N.V., which is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc.
BHP Billiton plc reported full-year 2009 profit attributable to members of BHP Billiton Group of $5.88 billion, compared to $15.4 billion last year
The European markets fell for the second day on Tuesday, as banking stocks weighed, led by Lloyds, which declined after a newspaper report said the British mortgage lender may face government resistance for its tentative multi-billion pound share issue. The FTSEurfirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 1.32% lower, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 1.18%. Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 1.08%, France's CAC 40 index slipped 1.38% and Germany's DAX index dropped 2.44%.
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