European stocks may open on a flat note on Thursday as investors wait to see if the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce new stimulus measures following the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting later tonight. However, the underlying sentiment may remain positive as pro-European Prime minister Mark Rutte's victory in Dutch elections along with the Constitutional Court's approval of Germany's participation in the Eurozone's new bailout fund augur well for the region's efforts to tackle the debt crisis.
President of the group of Eurozone Finance Ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, has welcomed the German constitutional court ruling approving ratification of the EUR 500 billion ESM bailout fund and said that he planned to hold the first meeting of the board of ESM Governors next month.
Asian markets are turning in a mixed performance as investors nervously await Fed decision. China's Shanghai Composite index is losing 0.2 percent after the official Xinhua News Agency said massive stimulus measures to boost the economy, similar to the stimulus package rolled out in 2008, would be "detrimental" to the country's sustainable growth.
Key benchmark indexes in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are also moving down less than half a percent each, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is gaining 0.3 percent and Japan's Nikkei index is moving up 0.4 percent.
Commodities are little changed, while the euro holds steady near a four-month high versus the dollar. Many analysts expect Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to announce another round of bond purchases and extend the central bank's low-interest rate guidance into late 2015 after recent data showed U.S. jobs growth slowed more than expected in August with shrinking labor force.
In economic releases, the Swiss National Bank's monetary policy decision is the only major event due in the European session.
In corporate news, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. has confirmed that it is having talks for a possible merger with BAE Systems Plc in a bid to create an industry giant that will surpass rival Boeing Co. in terms of sales.
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Plc said it expects supply of diamonds to be flat over the next decade due to lack of significant discoveries in the last decade and long lead times for bringing discoveries to commercial production.
LifeWatch AG said it has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Highmark BCBS, the BlueCross Blue Shield Association, and several other BlueShield BlueShield entities, alleging damages of over $60 million.
European stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday, as investors preferred to take some profits off the table prior to Fed meeting. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks rose 0.3 percent, but the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, edged down 0.3 percent.
Around Europe, France's CAC 40 rose 0.2 percent and the German DAX added half a percent, while Switzerland's SMI and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slid about 0.2 percent each.
U.S. stocks ended mostly higher overnight, with continued uncertainty on whether the Fed will act to help the economy limiting further upside for the markets. The Dow edged up 0.1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 edged up 0.2 percent, mainly helped by the favorable German Court ruling on the legality of the euro-zone bailout fund.
by RTT Staff Writer
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