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European Stocks Poised For Tepid Start On Growth Worries

European stocks are set to fall on Monday, mirroring losses in Asian equities and commodities as investors shifted their focus back to weak economic fundamentals amid the still unresolved European debt crisis. The euro fell against the dollar and yen in Asian trading after reports said there are differences between Germany and France over plans to monitor Europe's crisis-hit banks.

Meanwhile, Eurozone countries are planning to increase the size of the region's permanent bailout fund dramatically, Germany's Der Spiegel reported. The governments are preparing to quadruple the capacity of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to EUR 2 trillion from the current EUR 500 billion, the magazine reported citing a Finance Ministry spokesperson.

Separately, Financial Times Deutschland reported over the weekend that the Eurozone authorities are preparing to unveil a comprehensive euro rescue package before November that includes a modified financial assistance program for Greece, a second bailout for Spain and an aid package for Cyprus.

In economic releases, U.K.'s household finances continued to deteriorate in September as the overall sentiment turned more downbeat mainly due to a sharp increase in inflation perceptions, data from a survey by Markit Economics showed.

The headline household finance index, which measures respondents' views of their present financial situation, declined to 38.4 in September from August's 20-month high of 38.9, remaining well below the no-change 50 mark that separates improvement from deterioration.

In corporate news, the results from the Phase III study of Novartis' investigational treatment candidate RLX030 showed that the drug reduced all-cause mortality in patients with acute heart failure.

Swiss private banking group Julius Baer Group plans to cut up to 880 jobs at Merrill Lynch's overseas wealth management business as the integration of the unit with Julius Baer commences, according to a report in the Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag.

Automakers could be in focus after the Canadian Auto Workers or CAW union said 82 percent of its members have approved the Ford Motor Co. deal, which was the first collective bargaining agreement reached between CAW negotiators and the Big Three North American auto makers.

Volvo Car Corp. said its President and CEO Stefan Jacoby, who suffered a mild stroke last week, would temporarily suspend his duties within the company over the next month due to illness.

European markets finished mostly higher on Friday, with speculation that Spain may be edging closer to a rescue plan underpinning sentiment. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of Eurozone bluechip stocks rose 0.9 percent and the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added half a percent. Around Europe, Switzerland's SMI and the German DAX rose about 0.8 percent and France's CAC 40 added 0.6 percent, but the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index closed just below the unchanged line.

U.S. stocks failed to sustain early gains on Friday, with a lack of major U.S. economic data and lingering uncertainty about the outlook for the markets weighing on the markets. The tech-heavy Nasdaq inched up 4 points or 0.1 percent, while the Dow and the S&P 500 slipped marginally to end in the red. The early strength on Wall Street was partly due to a report from the Financial Times, which indicated that European Union officials are working behind the scenes to pave the way for a new Spanish rescue program and unlimited bond buying by the European Central Bank.

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