European Factors to Watch - Shares supported by cbank stimulus
LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen nudging higher at the open on Monday, cheered by signs that the United States and Japan will continue with ultra easing monetary policy for some time yet, but uncertainty surrounding the Italian elections was expected to keep a lid on market gains. Federal Reserve officials late on Friday highlighted the merits of the U.S. central bank's bond-buying programme, reassuring investors that stimulus is not about to be removed and helping Wall Street post solid gains. Asian shares also rose overnight after sources said Japan is likely to nominate a proponent of aggressive monetary easing as its next central bank governor, sending Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 share index to 4-1/2 year highs . Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 9 to 14 points higher, or as much as 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX to add 22 to 30 points, or as much as 0.4 percent, and France's CAC 40 to gain 16 to 20, or up to 0.5 percent. However, gains were likely to be modest, with Europe's heavyweight miners likely to be weighted down by news that the pace of growth in China's manufacturing sector pulled back from a five-year high this month, according to the HSBC's purchasing manager's index, hit by stagnant exports. Britain's credit downgrade by Moody's after market close on Friday and uncertainty over the outcome of Italian elections, where voting finishes later on Monday, were also seen dampening investors' appetite for risk. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0557 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,515.60 0.88 % 13.18 NIKKEI 11,649.67 2.32 % 263.73 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 553.31 -0.08 % -0.46 EUR/USD 1.3199 0.11 % 0.0014 USD/JPY 94.15 0.82 % 0.7700 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.979 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.571 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,585.01 0.3 % $4.71 US CRUDE $93.10 -0.03 % -0.03 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares edge higher, yen falls on BOJ report > Nikkei soars to 4-1/2-yr high; Kuroda seen likely next BOJ governor > HP lifts Wall St but S&P posts year's first down week > TREASURIES-U.S. bond prices firm before Bernanke's testimony > FOREX-Yen & sterling slump, euro eyes Italy elections > PRECIOUS-Gold bounces on physical buying, off 7-mth low > METALS-London copper snaps 6 days of losses, but China weighs > Brent slips below $114 as China factory output retreats from 2-yr high
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