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European Shares Set For Lackluster Start

stockmarkets aug20 09jun21 lt

European stocks are seen opening little changed on Wednesday as investors exercise caution ahead of U.S. inflation data and the European Central Bank policy meeting.

Amid ample chatter about rising inflation, the release of key U.S. consumer inflation data on Thursday may provide some cues on policy tapering.

The next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to take place on June 15 and 16.

The European Central Bank meets on Thursday, with most analysts expecting the central bank to maintain a higher pace of asset purchases for another quarter.

Increasing U.S.-China tensions may also weigh on markets as a U.S. government national laboratory concluded that the origin of Coronavirus outbreak could have been from a Chinese lab in Wuhan.

Asian markets traded mixed as official data showed China's factory gate prices increased at the fastest pace since September 2008. The headline consumer price index saw a lower-than-expected increase, helping limit regional losses.

The dollar firmed up and ten-year U.S. Treasuries held an advance, weighing on gold.

Bitcoin came within a whisker of its lowest levels since January after former U.S. president Donald Trump called the digital currency a "scam against the dollar" during an appearance on Fox Business television.

Oil prices rose for a second day after industry data showed U.S. crude oil inventories fell last week.

Oil settled at the highest in more than two years on Tuesday after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said hundreds of U.S. sanctions on Tehran likely would remain in place even if Iran and the United States return to compliance with the nuclear deal with world powers.

U.S. stocks ended a lackluster session on a flat note overnight as investors weighed worries over inflation and supply chain troubles against signs of a pandemic recovery.

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in April and job openings soared to a new record high in the month, reinforcing investor optimism around the economic recovery.

European stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday as investors digested the latest batch of economic data from the euro area and looked ahead to U.S. inflation data, due on Thursday.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.1 percent. France's CAC 40 index inched up 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent while the German DAX slipped 0.2 percent after data showed industrial output fell unexpectedly in April.

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