European stocks rose broadly on Tuesday in anticipation of further monetary stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve. All eyes are now on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke as he gives his semi-annual testimony to Congress later in the day.
Meanwhile, Spain's borrowing costs declined but remained high at the first debt auction since the government announced a EUR 65 billion austerity package last week. The Spanish Treasury today sold a total EUR 3.56 billion of 12- and 18-month bills, slightly exceeding the target of EUR 2.5 billion - EUR 3.5 billion set for the sale.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is moving up 0.35 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is down 0.17 percent. Around Europe, the German DAX, Switzerland's SMI and France's CAC 40 are up between 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 is declining 0.36 percent.
Shares of Royal Dutch Shell Plc are up 0.4 percent in London after the company said it would not revise its 220 pence per share offer to acquire Cove Energy and not take part in the auction process to complete the potential acquisition.
British lender HSBC Holdings is down 0.9 percent after the British lender and top U.S. bank regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, drew stinging criticism in a Senate report on money-laundering.
Rio Tinto is down 2 percent after the mining giant reported second quarter iron ore production that was almost flat with last year.
Alcatel-Lucent is tumbling over 15 percent in Paris after the telecom equipment maker forecast an operating loss excluding certain items in its second quarter.
On the macroeconomic front, U.K. annual inflation eased unexpectedly in June to reach its lowest level since November 2009, data from the Office for National Statistics showed. Consumer price inflation fell to 2.4 percent in June from 2.8 percent in May. Despite falling for a third month in a row, the headline rate stayed above the central bank's 2 percent target.
Separate data released today showed that house prices in the United Kingdom increased at a faster pace in May, with the house price index increasing 2.3 percent year-over-year in May, marking the second consecutive growth.
Elsewhere, Asian markets ended mostly higher, as stimulus expectations and earnings optimism outweighed the news of the Italian bank downgrades. Commodities such as crude and copper edged higher and the euro firmed up against the dollar on continued optimism about the likelihood of further stimulus from major central banks led by China and the United States.
The Dow futures are rising 48 points ahead of a slew of corporate earnings reports from the likes of Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs Group, Johnson & Johnson, Intel and Yahoo Inc.
by RTT Staff Writer
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