European stocks are seen opening lower on Friday, extending the previous session's losses, as investors watered-down expectations that Fed Chairman Bernanke will signal new boost to the U.S. economy at the Jackson Hole meet later in the day.
Also, sentiment soured after Moody's Investor Service said its review of Spain's government rating for a possible downgrade will continue through the end of September because of pending information.
The review is dependent on the scope of the bank recapitalization, support available under the European Stability Mechanism and potential changes to the existing crisis-management framework, the rating agency said.
Asian markets are trading mostly lower, with Japan's Nikkei index down 1.5 percent after official data showed Japan's industrial production contracted a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent month-over-month in July amid slumping global demand. The Japanese yen edged higher on safe-haven buying as weak economic data at home and out of Europe curbed investor risk appetite.
China's Shanghai Composite index is moving down 0.17 percent, heading for a fourth month of losses, on earnings disappointment. China is prepared to buy more EU sovereign debt, but wants debt-stricken countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy to embrace budget cuts and get their finances in order to overcome the debt crisis, media reports quoted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as saying at a state function in Beijing.
Seoul shares are posting modest losses following disappointing economic data. South Korea's factory output fell a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent from a month earlier in July, contracting for the second straight month, government data showed today, raising concerns the nation's economy might be faltering amid slowing global growth and renewed concerns over the eurozone debt crisis.
Closer home, an index measuring consumer confidence in the United Kingdom remained unchanged in August, data from a survey by market research agency GfK showed. The consumer confidence index remained unchanged from the previous month at -29 in August. Economists had expected the index to rise to -27 compared to a reading of -31 in August 2011.
In corporate news, French media group Lagardere SCA reported a higher profit for the first half of fiscal 2012, helped mainly by lower tax expenses and an equity accounted contribution from aerospace and defense firm EADS.
Qatar Holding LLC, Xstrata Plc's second largest shareholder, said it plans to vote against the merger between Swiss firms Glencore International Plc and Xstrata, unless the merger offer is sweetened.
Flights at German airliner Deutsche Lufthansa AG may potentially be impacted from Friday as its cabin crew members prepare for a strike that may put further pressure on its business and also throw into disarray travel plans of thousands of passengers.
Steel giant ArcelorMittal SA and the United Steelworkers union have failed to reach a labor deal with just a day left for the expiry of the current four-year labor contract as they remain in "conflict", according to a release by the USW.
European stocks ended lower on Thursday after official data showed confidence among euro-zone consumers and businesses fell to its lowest level in three years in August. Several weaker than expected economic reports from around the world also stoked global growth worries, dragging the major European averages down between 0.4 percent and 1.6 percent.
U.S. stocks ended notably lower overnight, with uncertainty ahead of Bernanke's speech contributing to the weakness. Further selling pressure was generated by a report which quoted Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as saying that his government will delay deciding whether to seek a sovereign bailout until the aid conditions are clear.
On the economic front, jobless claims unexpectedly came in unchanged in the week ended August 25, while a separate report from the Commerce Department showed that personal income and spending rose by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively in July, in line with economist estimates. The Dow and the S&P 500 slid about 0.8 percent each, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 1.1 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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