European stocks are seen opening higher on Monday, tracking firm Asian cues, higher commodity prices and a rebound in the euro for the first time in five sessions after opinion polls published Sunday showed that Greece's pro-bailout conservatives have regained the lead, which if carried over to the elections in June would help them form a coalition government.
Greece's socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos accused the IMF chief Christine Lagarde of trying to humiliate the country following Lagarde's interview with the Guardian newspaper in which she urged Greek people to "help themselves" by "paying their taxes".
Separately, in an interview with Le Monde newspaper, Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said that it was an "illusion" to think euro bonds would resolve the current crisis.
Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank is considering setting up a task force to draw an emergency plan for dealing with a possible collapse of the euro, though the bank believes such a scenario is highly unlikely. SNB President Thomas Jordan said in an interview on Sunday that one measure being considered is capital controls.
In economic releases, the average price for a home in the United Kingdom increased 0.2 percent from the previous month in May, property tracking website Hometrack said, after collecting 0.1 percent in April. The data showed a clear delineation between the north and south as the London area saw a 0.6 percent spike, while the Midlands were unchanged and the northern territories (Wales, Yorkshire and Humberside) saw a 0.1 percent contraction.
In corporate news, German real estate firm Deutsche Wohnen AG said it has agreed to acquire Barclays Plc's German real estate unit along with its about 23,500 residential units for 1.235 billion euros.
Software manufacturer Fabasoft AG announced group sales revenue of EUR 22.9 million for the fiscal year 2011/12, up from EUR 21.1 million in the previous fiscal.
European shares ended slightly higher on Friday, as stronger-than-expected consumer sentiment data out of the U.S. and comments from Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti that Germany can be persuaded on joint euro-area bonds helped offset worries over Spain's deteriorating finances and the looming possibility of a Greek exit from the euro.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks and the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, rose about 0.3 percent each, while around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 finished marginally higher, Switzerland's SMI edged up 0.2 percent, the CAC 40 of France gained 0.3 percent and the German DAX added 0.4 percent.
U.S. stocks ended yet another lackluster session in the red on Friday, as traders stayed away from making new bets ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. Investors also shrugged off a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan which showed that the U.S. consumer sentiment index for May was upwardly revised to 79.3 from the mid-month reading of 77.8, surprising economists who had expected the index to come in unchanged. The Dow slid 0.6 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 0.1 percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.2 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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